Governor forms Maryland/Israel development partnership

Emily Kimball Pope —  April 29, 2013

Governor Martin O’Malley is working toward increased collaboration between Maryland and Israeli companies. During his eight-day trade mission to Israel and Jordan, he launched the Maryland/Israel Development Partnership to fund joint development efforts in the cybersecurity and life sciences sectors, the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development announced Sunday.

“Innovation is not a solo act. History has shown that we can speed our path to discovery through collaboration and partnership,” O’Malley said in a statement. “I am pleased to announce the creation of the Maryland/Israel Development Partnership and look forward to what we will achieve when we bring together the bright minds and talented entrepreneurs in Maryland and Israel to tackle the great challenges facing our planet.”

Israel Chief Scientist Avi Hasson discussed the partnership with the governor on Sunday.

“This alliance represents a commitment to ensure the long-term success of our economy by exploring the common interests and growth opportunities of innovation internationally,” Hasson said in a statement. “It provides an important platform to strengthen the ties between Maryland and Israel, two regions rich in life science and cyber security knowledge, and we look forward to the visionary products and technologies that will result.”

Leaders in government and business in Maryland and Israel plan to work together to fund research partnerships.

According to DBED:

Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) and the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor will decide together which research partnerships to fund. Through the Maryland Venture Fund, DBED will fund up to half of the Maryland company’s research costs in the form of convertible debt or equity, with a cap of $400,000 per project. Beyond that investment, the company could also be eligible for Maryland’s Biotechnology Investment Incentive Tax Credit, which was recently increased to $10 million per year, or the Cybersecurity Investment Incentive Tax Credit, which was created by Governor O’Malley and the General Assembly in the legislative session that concluded this month. Initial application forms are due July 31 and the partnership will begin accepting them immediately. Awards will be announced in January 2014.

In a coordinated effort, O’Malley also helped create a new Maryland/Israel Advisory Board last week.

Israel plays a major role in Maryland’s economy. It is the state’s 43rd largest trading partner with $51.1 million in product exports, mostly chemicals, transportation equipment, and computer and electronic products, according to DBED. About 20 Israeli companies maintain offices in Maryland, including Teva BioPharmaceuticals, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and IMI Services (a subsidiary of Israel Military Industries).

Included in his trade mission, Governor O’Malley also met with Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, to discuss Middle Eastern issues and relations between Israel and Palestine, according to DBED.  

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