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Teva, meaning “nature” in Hebrew, was founded in Jerusalem in 1901 as Salomon, Levin and Elstein Ltd. and is the largest maker of generic drugs in the world and “#10 by market capitalization just behind Gilead”.

In 1980, Teva acquired Ikapharm, Israel’s second largest drug manufacturer, and in 1982 received FDA approval for its manufacturing plant in Kfar Sava, which opened the US market. Teva specializes in neurologic, auto-immune, and veterinary pharmaceuticals.

                             __________________________________________ excerpt below:

“The immigration of highly educated chemical professionals laid the foundation for Israel’s dynamic chemical industry

IT WAS, perhaps, an omen that the first president of Israel was an accomplished chemist. An Eastern European born in what is today Belarus, Chaim Weizmann is best remembered for his role in the Zionist movement, but he was also the father of industrial fermentation, most famously developing a process for large-scale acetone production.

Weizmann died in 1952, only four years after the birth of the state of Israel. Even in his absence, however, chemistry has become one of the nation’s leading industries. In 2007, it accounted for 25% of industrial revenues, excluding diamonds, or $20.48bn (€16.36bn), according to the Manufacturer’s Association of Israel.

About 150 chemical companies with around 300 facilities employ more than 32,000 workers – 9% of Israel’s industrial workforce. These firms manufacture everything from high-value products such as pharmaceuticals to commodities such as propylene, and they include global leaders such as top-10 pharma company Teva Pharmaceutical Industries the agchem giant Makhteshim Agan and the mineral producer Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL), the world’s leading producer of bromine and a major producer of potash.

In a region dominated by petrochemicals, how did a flourishing, highly diversified chemical industry like this happen?

Unlike other major chemical producers in the region, Israel has no domestic sources of petroleum, and its population numbers barely 7m. However, these people embody enormous know-how, partly the achievement of an excellent system of education, but also the result of decades of immigration by Jews escaping persecution or just seeking a better life.


The origins of Israel’s chemical industry stretch back at least as far as 1901, when a small wholesale drug business, Salomon, Levin and Elstein, was founded in Jerusalem.The firm would ultimately become part of Teva.

The region’s mineral resources, which include the Dead Sea (potash, bromine and magnesium) and the Negev desert (phosphate) also attracted development ICL’s earliest precursor, Palestine Potash, was founded in 1927.

Petrochemical manufacturing goes back to 1938, when the British government, the colonial ruler of Palestine, built a refinery in Haifa to process imported petroleum. The refinery, which became the company Oil Refineries Ltd., has since provided a nucleus, not only for its wholly owned subsidiary Gadiv Petrochemical Industries and the 50%-owned Carmel Olefins, but also for many other chemical activities.

“Over the years, this refinery became a highly developed complex with many companies around it receiving feedstocks,” says Haim Rosenbaum, president of Dor Chemicals. Founded in the 1970s, Dor produces methanol and derivatives, high-purity solvents, hydrogen, and plastics. It also produces methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) by processing isobutylene from the refinery.

It was the Holocaust and the Second World War, however, that drove great numbers of scientists and engineers to the region, where they used their expertise to begin the many chemical companies key to the new nation’s emerging economy.

Makhteshim Agan traces its roots to this era, observes Ron Zakai, manager, investor relations. Agan Chemical Manufacturers was founded in 1945, near Jerusalem, while Makhteshim was started in 1952 in the Negev desert.

“The founders were several Jewish people who came from Eastern Europe after the Second World War,” he says. “They had been working for Bayer and other German companies before leaving, and they had very good knowledge of chemistry. They knew that agriculture was well developed in Israel – we have terrific weather and very good arable land. So they decided they would bring this technology to Israel.”

In 1933, the large flavor and fragrance company Frutarom began manufacturing near Haifa. Teva originated with three companies – Assia, Zori and Teva – started in the 1930s by chemists from Central Europe. Zohar Dalia, a manufacturer of detergent intermediates and cleaning products, was established in 1939 by an agricultural collective, Kibbutz Dalia. The drug company Rekah began operations in 1940, and Taro Pharmaceuticals was started in 1950.” ……..



Written by citizen2009

November 16, 2009 at 10:44 pm

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