Nava Swersky Sofer President, International Commercialisation Alliance, Founder & Co-chair, NanoIsrael

Nava Swersky Sofer, an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, senior executive, innovation & technology commercialization expert with over 20 years of international experience, is recognized as a leader in the fields of innovation, venture capital and technology transfer and is a frequently-invited speaker on these topics. In addition to serving on company boards and international consulting, she is currently President & Founding Board Member of the Toronto-based International Commercialisation Alliance; Founder & Co-Chairperson of NanoIsrael, the international nanotechnology conference exhibition, an adviser to the Israeli government on innovation and international R&D collaborations and an adviser to the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on innovation.

She is the Israeli delegate to OECD’s Business & Industry Advisory Council (BIAC) nanotechnology committee and development/innovation network, a board member of Rome-based INSME, the International Network of Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises, with over 100 members from 45 countries and of the Brussels-based Knowledge Economy Network. She is a member of the Board of Governors and of the 11-person Executive Committee of the Ruppin Academic Centre, one of Israel’s leading colleges, and is often quoted on Israeli innovation models, including in the best-selling book “Start-Up Nation”.

From 2005-2009 she was President & CEO of Yissum, the technology commercialization company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which carries out 1/3 of academic research in Israel. Ms Swersky Sofer is credited with establishing the company as a global leader in technology transfer, increasing revenues by 75% to $60 million and growing the pipeline by 50% while signing 1,200 collaborative agreements. Prior to Yissum she spent 15 years as a partner at leading venture capital firms in California and Israel – Sanderling Ventures, Concord Ventures and Columbine, and as a Vice President at Ciba (now Novartis) at the head office in Basel, Switzerland and in the US. Ms Swersky Sofer served on the boards of X Technologies (sold to Guidant), Optonol (sold to Alcon), Dynavax (NASDAQ: DVAX), Novagali Pharma S.A. (floated on Euronext, then sold to Santen), BioCancell and Proteologics (both traded on TASE), among others. As active chairperson of Aderis pharmaceuticals, she took the company from a $6 million dollar valuation to over $120 million, leading its corporate and business development, including multiple deals. Aderis was sold to Schwarz Pharma, now part of UCB.

She was also an advisory member of Toronto-based DRI Capital, the $1 billion healthcare investment company. Selected past public boards include BioJerusalem, the Israel Technology Transfer Organisation ITTN, an advisor to the Israeli Government’s $50 million biotechnology consortium and a member of the ILSI-Biomed steering committee. From 2008-2013 she served as a management board member and vice chairperson of the Center of Excellence for Commercialization of Research (Canada), the $25 million initiative funded by the Canadian federal government. Ms Swersky Sofer has also advised the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, on technology transfer and commercialization. Ms Swersky Sofer holds a law degree from the Tel Aviv University, an MBA from IMD International in Lausanne, Switzerland and diplomas from the Sorbonne (Paris), the Goethe Institute (Munich) and the Instituto Trentino (Italy). She is a member of the Israel Bar Association, the youngest ever to have been admitted and a retired Captain in the Israel Defense Forces.