Pharma giant Bayer has announced plans to establish a cyber-security hub in Israel, which will be integrated into Bayer’s global cyber unit and will be one of the largest internal units of this kind in the company.

A delegation of top Bayer executives arrived in Israel on June 26 for a three-day visit, meeting with Economy and Industry Ministry Director General Ron Malka to discuss the German company’s plans to deep-dive into the Israeli market.

The delegation included, among others, Bijoy Sagar, Bayer’s chief information technology and digital transformation officer, and Gary Harbison, head of cyber-security and risk management, who were the driving force behind the move. The two also spoke at the main plenary of Cyber Week 2022, the annual international cybersecurity expo hosted by Tel Aviv University.

“I am excited by the spirit of innovation, level of talent and pragmatism I witnessed in the startup ecosystem, the government and universities in Israel in the sphere of information technology,” said Sagar. “Bayer business in Israel is strong and the cybersecurity bub is another great addition to our initiatives in Israel.”

During Cyber Week, top TAU and Bayer executives also inked a cooperation agreement to promote groundbreaking cybersecurity research from Tel Aviv University.

“As a company engaged in R&D in the core areas of life sciences, the ability to integrate with Israel’s unique cyber-security ecosystem, alongside sectors such as medical innovation and agricultural development is an opportunity to integrate as players in the Israeli market and provide added value for Bayer and for the ecosystem,” said Hugo Hagen, managing director of Bayer Israel.

“As a Norwegian who has worked in Israel for three years, I feel a mission to promote Israel on Bayer’s investment map and to strengthen the company’s position within Israel, as well as that of the Israeli headquarters within the global headquarters,” said Hagen.

“The ecosystem here is impressive and it would be a mistake not to try to enjoy the possibilities that exist here, and of course, I am proud that the decision was made to establish the new cyber-security unit here,” he added.

“There is no doubt that such initiatives contribute to employment, innovation and Israel’s image, and attract other international investments,” noted Malka. “We will continue to represent the best Israeli innovation has to offer and link it to leading companies. We welcome Bayer’s expansion in Israel and we are working to develop future similar initiatives.”

Yael Mor, who will run the hub for Bayer, said, “It is exciting to create something the activities of which will have an impact in the world beyond Israel’s borders. Along with our focus on the cyber unit, we will engage in locating Israeli innovation in cyber security.”

Bayer is one of the largest pharmaceutical and life sciences conglomerates in the world. Its main areas of business include consumer health-care products, agricultural chemicals and biotechnology products. The company set up its offices in Israel in 2008 and currently employs 150. Worldwide, Bayer maintains a presence in 83 countries, employing some 100,000 people.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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