HUJ’s tech transfer arm still hopes to raise a further $3m for the fund to close it at $9m and has already invested in three technologies.

Yissum, the tech transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ), raised $6m from undisclosed strategic and institutional investors yesterday for a fund with a targeted close of $9m.

Yissum’s NanoTech Fund will concentrate on smart materials and nanotechnologies emerging from the university, specifically targeting areas such as 3D printing, quantum science and renewable energy.

The fund has made preliminary investments in three technologies: a 3D wood printing technique, a handheld diamond-based MRI scanner and a metal-free display for solar cells.

The move is designed to protect HUJ’s ability to commercialise work from what it regards as some of the industry’s leading researchers at its Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

The researchers include Uri Banin, founder of semiconductor nano-crystal manufacturer Qlight Nanotech, which was bought by pharmaceutical and chemicals producer Merck Group in 2015, and Shlomo Magdassi, who helped build up moulding and coating technology developer DipTech before its acquisition by performance materials producer Ferro in August 2017.

Yissum has now raised more than $50m in capital across three investment funds over the past six years.

The other two vehicles are Agrinnovation, a fund for agricultural HUJ innovations whose limited partners include Yissum and HUJ’s Provident Fund, and life science-focused Integra Holdings, which is backed by Singaporean state-owned investment firm Temasek and drugmaker Guangxi Wuzhou Zhongheng.

Yaron Daniely, chief executive and president of Yissum, said: “Yissum’s NanoTech fund is uniquely positioned to invest in the most innovative smart materials technologies created by Hebrew University researchers.

“Drawing on the experiences and successes of our other two funds focused on healthcare and foodtech, this fund will leverage core strengths of Hebrew University for the benefit of its investors and, most importantly, the world.”