On October 11th in beautiful Toronto, the weather had cooled, the leaves had turned, and biotech-research and philanthropic stars of Israel’s Rambam Health Care Campus and Canada’s University Health Network were out all day and well into the night for a major public medical symposium followed by a gala fundraising dinner. The events were dedicated to advancing the clinical science goals of both medical centers.
Dr. Robert Bell and Prof. Rafael Beyar, CEOs of UHN and RHCC respectively, greeted the symposium audience. Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover, Chairman of the RHCC Scientific Advisory Board and Professor in the Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion, delivered the Keynote Address.
Throughout the day, sessions followed dedicated to sharing news of recent breakthroughs in the clinical research disciplines of Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, Translational Genetics, and Advanced (Functional) Imaging Modalities. The sessions were delivered by paired UHN and RHCC Professors Rudi Von Harsdorf and Lior Gepstein; Peter St George- Hyslop and Eli Sprecher; and Brian Wilson and Ora Israel. Additional Rambam participants included Director of Medical Research and Development Prof. Karl Skorecki and Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Global Resources Dr. Esty Golan.
That night, participants reassembled to join approximately 200 guests at a fundraising dinner honoring legendary investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett. The event was initiated by devoted Friends of Rambam Mr. Eitan Wertheimer, President and CEO of Iscar Metalworking, and his wife Ariela. Mr. Buffett owns 80% of ISCAR. The gala took place in the recently opened Royal Ontario Museum’s Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, designed by deconstructivist architect Daniel Libeskind.
Guests schmoozing over hors d’oeuvres and dinner had paid $25,000 (CAD) a plate for the privilege of hearing Mr. Buffett and the UHN and RHCC clinician-scientists – but in fact, in following the example of Mr. Buffett, what they have purchased is priceless: a social-investment share in the construction of two Biomedical Discovery Towers to be built at opposite ends of the globe – one at RHCC in collaboration with the Technion and the other at UHN. The event raised $4 Million (CAD), to be equally divided by the two medical centers, for this purpose.