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Governor Patrick joins Israeli-founded Argo Medical Technologies to announce selection of Massachusetts as U.S. Headquarters
Announcement at AdvaMed 2012 highlights Massachusetts life sciences industry with demonstration of Argo’s ReWalk exoskeleton that enables paraplegics to walk
BOSTON, Mass. – October 2, 2012 – Governor Deval Patrick joined the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and Argo Medical Technologies at the AdvaMed 2012 conference in Boston today to announce that Israeli-founded exoskeleton technology leader, Argo, has selected Massachusetts as its U.S. headquarters.
“Massachusetts is a global leader in the life sciences industry because of our strong investment in education and innovation,” said Gov. Patrick, who led a trade mission to Israel last spring to further strengthen ties between the innovation industries in Massachusetts and Israel. “I am pleased to welcome Argo and their remarkable technology to Massachusetts, and I look forward to the continued growth of their company as they bring new jobs into the Commonwealth.
Argo Medical Technologies’ product, the ReWalk, is an exoskeleton suit that enables persons with lower limb disabilities, such as paraplegia, to stand and walk independently without assistance. The company’s founder, Dr. Amit Goffer, is a person with quadriplegia who was inspired to invent the exoskeleton device because of his own personal story. Argo was founded in Israel, but has grown internationally. Along with its Massachusetts headquarters, it now has centers in Germany and Israel. The new Massachusetts headquarters, which the company expects to house up to 40 employees, will be located in Marlborough.
“As Argo expands from a research and development firm to an international leader in commercial exoskeleton technology, we have selected Massachusetts with its strong commitment to the life sciences industry as our U.S. headquarters,” said Larry Jasinski, CEO of Argo Medical Technologies. “The ReWalk is a cutting-edge device that will revolutionize the mobility industry, and we are committed to making this technology commercially available to anyone who wants one here in the U.S. and around the world.”
Through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Massachusetts is investing $1 billion over ten years in the growth of the state’s life sciences supercluster. These investments are being made under the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, proposed by Gov. Patrick in 2007, and passed by the State Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Patrick in 2008.
“Argo’s technology is truly life-changing,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the agency charged with implementing Gov. Patrick’s Life Sciences Initiative. “Millions of people with neurodegenerative diseases and spinal cord injuries, including many of our returning veterans, have been waiting for this kind of breakthrough technology. We are proud to welcome Argo to the Massachusetts life sciences community.”
“We are excited to welcome Argo to the strong and growing medical technology community here in Massachusetts,” said Tom Sommer, President of MassMEDIC, the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council. “With more than 400 medical device companies located in the Commonwealth, a supportive state government and a world-class workforce, Argo will undoubtedly find the resources it needs here to put the ReWalk into the homes of patients across the U.S.”
At the press conference, U.S. Army Veteran Theresa Hannigan demonstrated the ReWalk exoskeleton technology. Hannigan is a former Army Sergeant, who served during the Vietnam era and was left paralyzed two years ago as a result of a progressive autoimmune disease that she contracted while in the Army. Hannigan has been training with the ReWalk at the National Center of Excellence for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury at the James J. Peters V.A. Medical Center in Bronx, New York, and is planning to use the exoskeleton on October 20, 2012 to walk a one-mile road race in Lindenhurst, New York, to raise money for the organization “Hope for the Warriors,” which helps U.S. service men and women.
“I am very excited for the day I can take the ReWalk home to use in my daily life,” said Hannigan. “It’s the simple things that I miss that I can’t do in my wheelchair. When I’m sitting on the couch, it is difficult and time-consuming to transition into my wheelchair for a simple task, like getting a glass of water. With the ReWalk, I can just stand up, walk in to the kitchen, get a glass in the cabinet and pour it for myself.”
The ReWalk is currently available in the U.S. at rehabilitation centers and is awaiting FDA clearance for personal use. In Europe, it is also being used in rehabilitation facilities, and Argo has recently announced the ReWalk’s commercial availability to take home for personal use throughout the European Union.