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BioHarvest, A BioTechnology Firm, Relocates From Israel To Albany, New York

Area Development Online News Desk (01/13/2014)
BioHarvest Ltd., an Israeli biotechnology company, is moving its research and development start-up operations from Tel Aviv, Israel to Albany, New York, creating 60 new jobs in the Capital Region.

The company will collaborate with the University at Albany's Cancer Research Center to produce innovative technologies for human health, including functional health food products and intervention strategies based on the cultured cells of fruits and vegetables, in three phases.

Fruitura BioScience Ltd. developed a patented, state-of-the-art process to grow and bio-harvest fruit cell cultures in 3D bioreactors. The unique technology enables the production of safe and clinically researched super-foods rich in phytonutrients in highly bio-available and efficacious forms, which are produced on an industrial scale for the nutrition, wellness, and supplements markets.

“Companies in growing fields from around the globe are coming to New York and creating new economic opportunity in all parts of our state,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “This partnership with BioHarvest will create new jobs and continue to establish the Capital Region as a leader in the research and development field.”

BioHarvest's technology delivers super-foods with phytonutrients present in all-natural, unblocked and unaltered form, resulting in high bioavailability without extraction by solvents, genetic modification, or synthetic molecular processing. BioHarvest's first large-scale commercial product, red grape cell powder, now referred to as “Vinia,” was given the designation of a novel food by the Israeli regulatory agencies, one of only six functional foods so classified in Israel.

Pre-clinical and clinical studies demonstrated that Vinia had beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, and metabolic conditions. “Most of us are aware of the health benefits of the French Paradox phenomenon: reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, anti-inflammatory activity, mitigation of metabolic disorders and anti-aging properties,” explained Yochi Hagay, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder, BioHarvest Ltd. “Vinia provides all of those French Paradox benefits for proactive health management.”

“Vinia and other preparations produced using this bioreactor technology contain all the bioactive compounds produced in red grape cells, and it is this combination of botanicals that are responsible for the beneficial effects of Vinia,” said Martin Tenniswood, Director, UAlbany Cancer Research Center. “The Cancer Research Center looks forward to our collaboration with BioHarvest to investigate the chemo-preventive properties of Vinia and other botanical preparations.”

The BioHarvest and Cancer Research Center partnership will establish a Center for Innovative Functional Foods Research to study the underlying biology of bioactive compounds in red grape cell powder, as well as other functional foods. The Center on the East Campus will house four, five-ton bioreactors and production and sales facilities. Both projects will create about 60 jobs.

A $1.2 million Empire State Development award through the Capital Region Economic Development Council will assist BioHarvest in start-up expenditures, supporting the partnership with the University at Albany and the creation of 60 new jobs. The ongoing development of the regional Biotechnology Corridor and the availability of highly qualified trained personnel from the Cancer Research Center's bioinstrumentation degree program, also funded by an ESD award, solidified the commitment by BioHarvest.

“I am thrilled that BioHarvest has decided to invest right here in the Capital Region,” said James J. Barba, Co-chair of the Capital Regional Economic Development Council and President and CEO of the Albany Medical Center. “This novel public-private partnership between BioHarvest and the University at Albany will not only lead to the development of innovative technologies and healthy functional foods, but profoundly underscores how Tech Valley is advancing.

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