By Meidad Pariente
Can you share something personal that isn’t written in your LinkedIn profile?
Let me share some insights about myself. I used to be a jazz dancer in a famous event in Israel. Every Hanukkah, there is a big festival for kids. My dance group used to perform with Ricky Gal, by a famous Israeli singer. And I also played for the Israeli youth national basketball team, and we won the European basketball cap in Stockholm, Sweden, with a team of seven Israeli kids that inspired everybody because we won against all odds. So that’s about myself.
from Earth observation background to micro G pharmaceutical experiments. What, how, and why? What’s the story behind space Pharma.?
The main story started when I hosted the Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center, Dr. Pete Worden, along with his chief scientist, Jacob Cohen for three days. So I did a lot of homework, and I read a lot about what is the next thing that we do not use from Orbits, not related to communication or earth observation applications, nor weather or GPS, in order not to interrupt the Israeli aerospace giants, like IAI and other US players. And I found that there is something unique that we always use in all satellites, but we didn’t pay attention to it. That was liquid hydrogen. Hydrogen is used to maneuver the satellites and to control orbital altitude. I thought to myself if we can store and use liters of liquid hydrogen in orbit, why can’t we take a few ccs (centiliters – m.p) or droplets to space and run life science in orbit? I read a lot about it. and I found that it was well known since 30 years ago, by the Russians, NASA, and even JAXA, to perform experiments in orbit, but it was so painful, so long, and so expensive that it stayed an anecdote and not actual science. So, I decided to take this know-how of liquid maneuvering system and convert it into a droplet machine in space.
So, Space Pharma was actually founded because you searched for something that was never done before?
Absolutely, we did a lot of homework, as I said, we read a lot of books, and after about a year of investigation, we came to the idea that no one has done before. A company that will lead zero-g life science experiments in orbit
If the “bit” is the basis of the communication. The “pixel” is the basis of the image. The “droplet” will be the basis of life science in space. SpacePharma took the know-how of a liquid hydrogen maneuvering system and converted it into a droplet machine in space.
Can you give us an example of what kinds of applications the pharma industry can really benefit from using micro-g and zero-g?
We also investigate it with pharmaceutical companies, clients, researchers from the academy and space agencies, and hospitals. There are a few topics that are considered top priorities. The first requires very limited power in orbit and very small interruptions. It is the formulation of monoclonal antibodies. Pharmaceutical is the relationship or the bridge between chemistry and life science. That’s how it works. All the medicines developed around the world are based on plants. And that’s something that we could easily adapt into a droplet management machine and allow researchers to intervene and inject it into mammalian cells. We call it today “organoids” that can actually replicate your body up to eight cells. The theory is that you can take it to the extreme. So you build those chemical reactions in space, create those crystals, and by having those crystals injected into the body, we can provide remedies and cures that cannot be defined on earth because of gravity. So gravity is a big interrupt. when we are trying to build specific crystals (crystals shapes – m.p) on Earth, in orbit, you can tailor it to a significant shape (specific shape – m.p). So one of the top priorities is monoclonal antibodies. The second is anti-aging in orbit. If you take to orbit tissue culture or mammalian cells, you can age them like you age wine, 10 times faster, or even more because of high or extreme radiation influence on this tissue culture. We can improve a lot of skincare and cosmetics and replace even skin for people on Earth. The third point, which I do believe it’s going to be very, very helpful, is cancer, and cancer pathogens research, a kind of genetic understanding of how to recover from cancer. We (SpacePharma – m.p) have had nice success with all of those, and we expect that the coming years will provide us with many insights into those ideas. So the top three monoclonal antibodies, anti-aging or longevity, and at the end, the drug-disease modeling related to cancer.
A little bluebird told me that SpacePharma is also part of the mini-shuttle project, allowing experiments and samples to be returned to Earth. Can you share more information about that?
Yes, this is the right time to share that we have been involved already for the past three years in a project we call the MOTI, the Modern Time, the industrial revolution of the new space inspired by Charlie Chaplin. The idea is that we can not only research in a mini shuttle and get the samples back but also provide a high volume of the formulation. We have called it the 5.0 factory of the future, Since three years ago. We are involved in the “space rider”, which is the European Space Agency mini-shuttle. The space rider is unmanned, it is much cheaper than others, and it is a reusable system exactly as we have our reusable MODIS (SpacePharma advanced lab – m.p) which is the factories of the future. We have a great interest coming from big pharma for the first time. Until now we only researched small dosages and microdoses of production. We can tell that big volumes of up to 100 kilograms are achievable. If you are familiar with Dream Chaser and SpaceX Dragon, you should know that their missions are very short, no more than four-five days. (compared to the mini-shuttle mission of a full month in orbit before returning – m.p). Space Rider is now expected to fly in early 2024, which is around the corner. It’s the timeframe of the space industry. And I really happy to say that this is fascinating. It will change the industry.
Where do you see the Israeli space industry in 2050?
2050 it’s about 30 years from now. Yep, it’s it used to be a long time. But I think that technology (development – m.p) will be very rapid, and the use of space will impact us all. For example, you know better than anyone that Cellular Calls will be diminished, right? So we’re gonna enjoy space-based communication easily. I read today that Nokia is in it, you know, that Apple is on it. And SpaceX with Starlink is very close to everyone as well. The Israeli space industry in 2050 is going to rely heavily on software dedicated and relevant to space vehicles, algorithms, and so on, of course, intelligence. But I think that SpacePharma is going to provide something unique. This is the niche that we would like to keep 2% to 3% of the entire GDP coming from space for the State of Israel. We do have right now, a lot of people, students, and teenagers who accomplish their studies within the high school, and they are ready to run in orbit activities related to life science and chemistry. Thanks to the Ramon Foundation. Every year in Israel, there are close to 2000 teenagers who are studying microgravity research. That’s a mass, a critical mass that will support a new industry here in Israel in the next decades.
Mr. Yossi Yamin is the founder and president of SpacePharma. Yossi has gained more than 30 years of experience with large-scale development projects across the United States, Israel, and Canada related to Space. He has commanded the Israeli Satellite Unit in the IDF, where he managed 7 successful launches. Yossi holds a Bs.C. in Business Management from UOP, San Diego, CA, USA, and an MBA from Tel Aviv University.