WeWork Founder Invests in Former Israeli Premier Ehud Barak's Marijuana Firm

Teva recalls blood pressure drug after detection of a probable cancer-causing impurity ■ Bank of Israel says newly approved committee for financial stability to convene soon ■ Tel Aviv Stock Exchange extends gains

Ehud Barak in Tel-Aviv, August 2018
Meged Gozani

WeWork founder invests in medical marijuana firm chaired by Ehud Barak 

InterCure, an Israeli medical marijuana company chaired by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, has completed a private placement from investors including WeWork founder Adam Neumann, the company said Wednesday. The $17 million fundraiser, which is being conducted ahead of plans to list InterCure on the Nasdaq, included U.S. billionaire Gary Fegel through his GMF capital fund and InterCure controlling shareholder Alex Rabinovich. Fegel made his fortune as a senior partner at Gelncore before leaving the company in 2013. The funds will be used to develop InterCure’s business overseas and the costs connected with its planned dual-listing. Once an investment company with no assets, Intercure bought Canndoc, one of eight authorized growers of medical marijuana in Israel, in September. It aims to become an exporter when the Israeli government authorizes exports. InterCure shares finished up 6.1% at 5.26 shekels ($1.41).  (Guy Erez)

Teva to recall some versions of blood pressure drug due to impurities

Teva Pharmaceuticals is recalling certain combinations of blood pressure drug valsartan in the United States following the detection of a probable cancer-causing impurity, the latest global recall of the medicine. The Israeli drug maker will recall all lots of amlodipine-valsartan and amlodipine-valsartan-hydrochlorothiazide combination tablets due to an impurity in an ingredient made by an India-based unit of Mylan, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration  said on Tuesday. The European Union last week effectively banned sales of valsartan made by the Mylan India unit after some batches were found to contain the same impurity, N-nitrosodiethylamine. Teva has not received any reports of adverse events signaling a potential link or exposure to valsartan, the health regulator said. Patients are advised to continue taking their medication as the risk of harm may be higher if the treatment is stopped immediately without any alternative treatment, the FDA said. Teva shares ended unchanged at 80.60 shekels ($21.60). (Reuters)

Co-Op wins 45-day stay of proceedings

The Co-Op Israel Cooperative Society and Co-Op Shop supermarket chain won a 45-day stay of proceedings from creditors Wednesday. The chain had sought 90 days, but Jerusalem District Court Judge Alexander Ron declined to give it more than an initial 45 days and appointed two trustees to administer the company. The chain, which is owned by its 13,000 members, said its assets of some 250 million shekels ($67.3 million) exceeded its debts by about 50 million but it had short-term cash flow problems in part due to one-time expenses. A lawyer for Israel Discount Bank, one of Co-Op’s creditors, said the chain owned the bank more than 20 million shekels, not 8.6 million as the court filing said. The society operates nationwide 42 stores directly and another 30 through franchisees, some of which will have to be sold as part of a reorganization. (Efrat Neuman)

Financial stability panel to begin work soon

The Bank of Israel said Tuesday the committee newly approved by the Knesset to monitor the stability of the country’s financial sector would convene within months. The panel, which will be chaired by the governor of the central bank, will oversee Israel’s financial institutions, ensuring coordination among regulatory bodies as reforms have brought more companies into the sector. “The large number of players in the credit market and the division of responsibility between the various regulators requires looking at the entire system and closely coordinating the regulators,” the bank explained. The International Monetary Fund had recommended Israel establish the committee after the global financial crisis. The Bank of Israel said it would start work within days to set the agenda for the committee, which will include senior treasury and Israel Securities Authority officials. (Avi Waksman)

Insurers lead Tel Aviv shares higher

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange extended its gain Wednesday, but the dollar weakened for the first time since the Bank of Israel announced a hike in interest rates. The benchmark TA-35 index ended up 0.7% at 1,637.10 points, while the TA-125 rose 0.8% to 1,47236, on turnover of 1.13 billion shekels ($300 million). Insurance shares paced gains, helped by the expected profit boost from the rate hike and from third-quarter earnings. Migdal rose 6.1% to 4.40 shekels after saying profit nearly quadrupled from a year ago, to 243.3 million shekels. Harel gained 4.2% to 29.31 on a 75% rise to 287 million. Builder Astrom climbed 5.1% to 16.75 after it said third-quarter net attributable to shareholders climbed 33% to 194.6 million. Bank Hapoalim raised 2 billion shekels in deposits for 6.2 years at 89 basis points over equivalent treasuries. In foreign currency trading, the dollar strengthened 0.1% to a representative rate of 3.733 shekels (Michael Rochvarger)