Israeli Biotech Company Partners with Cancer Research Center

BioHarvest Ltd., an Israeli biotechnology company, is expanding its research and development start-up operations from Tel Aviv, Israel, to the University at Albany’s East Campus. The company is collaborating with UAlbany’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

BioHarvest has developed a patented, state-of-the-art platform to grow and bio-harvest fruit cell cultures in 3D bioreactors. In pre-clinical and clinical studies, BioHarvest’s first large-scale commercial product — red grape cell powder, now referred to as “Vinia”—demonstrated beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, and metabolic conditions.

The partnership between BioHarvest and the Cancer Research Center is unfolding in three phases, beginning with scientific and clinical collaborations that are already in progress. The next phase is the construction of a building on the East Campus to house four five-ton bioreactors and production and sales facilities. Construction is slated to begin by the end of 2014 or early 2015. The third phase calls for the establishment of a Center for Innovative Functional Foods Research to study the underlying biology of bioactive compounds in red grape cell powder and other functional foods and create a data set for all functional foods.

A $1.2 million Empire State Development award through the Capital Region Economic Development Council is assisting BioHarvest with start-up expenditures and supporting the partnership with UAlbany. About 60 new jobs are expected to be created.