Aliroo Ltd. – an Israeli company which provides secure e-mail service to health care providers – intends to move its U.S. headquarters from Houston to Rochester.A program that brought Israeli business executives to Rochester last week already has a payoff.

Aliroo Ltd. – an Israeli company which provides secure e-mail service to health care providers – intends to move its U.S. headquarters from Houston to Rochester, the company’s chief executive said.

With the move, Aliroo, based in Or Yehuda, Israel, plans to add up to 20 jobs over the next 18 months, said Meir Zorea, president and chief executive of Aliroo.

“Rochester, it looks like, is the right fit for us,” said Zorea, who is a resident of Rehovot, Rochester’s city sister in Israel. “This (could) be the mecca or beacon. If they (companies) have to make a choice where to stay in the states once they establish a subsidiary or something, one of the major factors would be, ‘Let’s go and do it in Rochester because there’s a center of excellence related to health security.'”

Aliroo, whose customers include Eastman Kodak Co., made its announcement to coincide with last week’s Rochester-Israel Business Attraction Visit, sponsored by the Greater Rochester Enterprise. Aliroo was one of the 13 companies visiting the Rochester area.

“This will have not only a very beneficial impact for these two companies but also for all of the health care providers in our community,” said Rochester Mayor William A. Johnson Jr.

Last Monday, the group attended a kickoff breakfast with welcoming speeches by Brooks and Johnson, then toured the University of Rochester Medical Center. With most of the visiting companies focused on medical technology, UR showcased research that includes the study of genes.

“Both sides are looking for something,” said Dr. Arie Orenstein, director of the plastic surgery department and advanced technology center at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Tel-Hashomer, Israel, the teaching facility for Tel Aviv University’s Medical School.

“The Americans are looking for our innovations. We are looking for the American connection to the business side.”

The tour was the centerpiece of opening day for the Rochester-Israel Attraction Visit, a program GRE hopes will stimulate deals between businesses in the two countries.

Rochester “is a great place to do business, and we hope that you’ll find it to be a place that is inviting for you to do business,” said Thomas S. Richards, GRE chairman, during the kickoff breakfast at the Strathallan hotel.

Many of the Israeli companies visiting Rochester are in the high-tech or medical technology businesses, areas that have been identified as having strong economic growth potential for the Rochester region.

Israeli innovations in medical devices have spawned many startups that are now looking to market to U.S. customers, Orenstein said.

Those companies include visitors Glucon Medical, a developer of glucose monitoring devices based in Petach Tikva, and Notal Vision Inc. of Tel Aviv, which has technology for early detection and monitoring of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness.

“We were helping many clients with innovation and saw that they not only needed help with coming up with the ideas and the technology, but also bringing them over to the American market,” said Amnon Levav of Tel Aviv’s SIT International, which helps businesses think innovatively and creatively.

Recent Eastman Kodak Co. acquisitions have helped bridge the gap. In November, Kodak acquired Algotec Systems of Ra’anana, a suburb of Tel Aviv. The company writes high-speed programs that power X-ray imaging networks. Last month Kodak also completed a deal to acquire most of the assets of Scitex Digital Printing, a subsidiary of Scitex Corp. of Israel.

“We recognized a few years back about the excellence of technologies coming out of Israel,” said Aaron Waitz, vice president of Kodak’s Health Imaging Division. “We see it as a great opportunity to tap into that innovation.”

Aliroo president Zorea said his company recently worked to set up a worldwide communication center here to provide secure e-mail distribution of patient data for Kodak customers.

The security is required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which ensures privacy and security of patient records.

Kodak chose Aliroo from among 42 companies worldwide that provide encryption software to ensure that security, said Patrick Faure, privacy and security manager for Kodak’s Health Imaging.

“We believe this relationship can grow to higher levels of cooperation,” said Zorea. “We’re learning it’s a warm community. There’s a lot of opportunities here. That’s why we’re participating.”

(Reprinted with permission of the Democrat and Chronicle)