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Merchavia Expands Its Investments in Diagnostics: The Company to Invest NIS 1 Million in EFA - Engineering for All Ltd.

RAMAT GAN, Israel, March 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Merchavia Holdings and Investments (TASE: MRHL), an Israeli investment company specializing in early stage life sciences companies, announces that it is expanding its investments into the diagnostics sector. It will invest in EFA a total of NIS 1 million according to milestones.

EFA is developing a device for use as an accurate mobile, portable laboratory that can conduct blood counts (CBC) and assist medical staff in making treatment decisions when treating infections, within minutes of taking the patient's blood. This rapid test approach is expected to aid in making the treatment for infectious diseases more effective, saving lives and costs, and reducing the excessive administering of antibiotics.  Additionally, an easy to obtain hemoglobin level would enable screening for anemia, and farther analysis of white blood cell morphology could potentially diagnose leukemia. In the future applications the microscopy-like analysis could also be used for diagnosis of parasitic infections The company already filed a PCT and in the process of filing several more patents related to the way that the system operates and its algorithms.

The company expects to generate revenue from sales of the device and sales of biodegradable sample kits (Razor-Razorblade). EFA currently operates in the eHealth Ventures technological incubator, in which the Israel Innovation Authority, Maccabi Health Services, Medison, Cleveland Clinic, and Amgen are partners.

EFA's system is designed to be easy to operate and suitable for use by clinical medical staff members during home visits, hospitalization, emergency situations, remote and isolated sites with low availability of laboratory facilities, or locations where operating laboratory systems is not economically feasible. Using the system entails taking a blood sample from the patient's finger, receiving results within minutes and providing a precise answer. These attributes provide the system with a significant advantage compared with current conventional procedures, in which blood samples are taken from the patient and sent to a diagnostics laboratory, and the results are received up to 72 hours after the test (and even more in distant locations) – an expensive and critically long process when dealing with infectious diseases. Limited availability and long blood tests turnaround time currently results in high rates of unnecessary antibiotic use.Such an excessive use is associated with development of drug-resistant bacteria.

Eli Arad, CEO Merchavia: "The investment in EFA fits the company's strategy of focusing on breakthrough technologies in huge markets worth billions of dollars annually. The diagnostic system meets the global need to reduce as much as possible excessive use of antibiotics and accessibility for more critical clinical indications, combines several advantages of ease-of-use and advanced technology iwith no need for special training, or or online connectivity and generate rapid results and provide an answer for the correct and appropriate treatment. EFA's device, which serves as a mobile laboratory, will represent a major supplementary device in the point-of-need diagnostics market because of its accessibility and affordability. We believe that this system can complement and expand the existing diagnostics system, and thus create significant value for the infectious diseases point-of-care diagnostics market and for the company's shareholders.

Estimates are that the 'diagnostics at the point of examination' market is expected to be worth about $38 billion in 2022. The global diagnostics market is large-scale and over 1 billion CBC tests are carried out annually in the US and Europe alone. In India 500,000 CBC tests are conducted annually, in China almost 1 billion tests annually, in Latin America, Brazil and Russia together about 1 billion tests are conducted annually. 

About EFA

EFA was founded by Yoel Ezra, an engineer and physicist who served in the IDF for 23 years, most of them in operational technology unit, also as a chief commander of that unit. After his military service, he began working in the medical device sector including with Medtronic, and Edwards Lifescience. His partner in founding the company is Eli Mor, the President and Head of International of NRS Health & Wellness, a leading innovation company  developing solutions for human health, sustainable food production and agriculture. The company's staff is comprised of VP Business Development Amir Lubashevsky with more than 30 years at business development, technologies and in developing countries and a team of leading experts, PhDs in the field of biomedical engineering and computer sciences. In addition, the company is supported by an advisory board including  Dr. Ami Neuberger from Rambam Medical Center a specialist in infectious diseases and internal medicine, Dr Josef Rosenblum Chief Medical Informatics manager at Maccabi Healthcare Services with more than 30 years of experience in Healthcare IT and Mr Josh Shachar a global innovator with more than 70 patents and the founder of several companies at the field of biosensors and aeronautics. The company currently operates in the eHealth Ventures technological incubator, as part of the incubators program supported by the incubators partners, who include Maccabi Health Services, Medison, Cleveland Clinic, and Amgen.

About Merchavia

Merchavia Holdings and Investments (TASE: MRHL) is an Israeli company specializing in investments in early-stage and promising startups operating in leading high-demand areas of the life sciences, working together with leading medical institutes worldwide – including Cleveland Clinic in the US. The company's management offices are in Ramat Gan.

Eli Arad


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Last Updated: 20-Mar-2019