New Argentinian committee established

Date: Thursday, October 19, 2017

For Hugo Sigman, the new president of the Argentinian Society of Friends, it is the philosophy of the Weizmann Institute and its highly multidisciplinary nature that attracted him to the Institute and inspired him to take on his leadership role for the newly established group. In the last year, he and his wife, Silvia Gold, a biochemist, have hosted three events in Buenos Aires for new and old friends of the Institute.

The Society was launched on April 24 at the offices of Grupo Insud, where Mr. Sigman is CEO. The couple also hosted an event in December, attended by Institute President Prof. Daniel Zajfman who spoke about the Institute’s climb to one of the world’s major powerhouses in basic science research. That event was attended by Mr. Barañao, as well as Israel’s Ambassador to Argentina, Ilan Sztulman; and the President of CONICET (the National Scientific and Technical Research Council) , Dr. Alejandro Ceccatto, among other prominent members of the business and academic community—some 80 people in all. One of the outcomes of that meeting was a delegation led by Lino Barañao, Argentina’s Minister of Minister of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation, to the Weizmann Institute in March.

Silvia Gold and Hugo Sigman started a firm in 1976 that supplied pharma companies with active ingredients that were not available in the country. Grupo Insud, comprises three companies, one of which sells generic pharmaceutical products to laboratories worldwide. The other sells branded pharmaceuticals in 46 countries, and the third is a biotech company that produces vaccines and monoclonal antibodies.

The company also has a cultural arm that produces films through Kramer & Sigman Films—including the hit Wild Tales, which was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Mr. Sigman also founded the Argentine Chamber of Biotechnology, which he chairs.

The family also established Mundo Sano, a nonprofit engaged in research, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of neglected diseases, mainly affecting low-income sectors of society.

“We are impressed by the interactive nature of the scientific research here, and the philosophy that science that will lead to breakthroughs must integrate various disciplines,” said Ms. Gold in an interview during the couple’s first trip to campus in April.

Said Mr. Sigman: “There is great potential in terms of creating new scientific collaborations between Weizmann scientists and scientists in Argentina, and also, we hope, in terms of philanthropy. Weizmann is filled with bright people who are engaged, committed, and excited about science and we look forward to working on behalf of Weizmann in Argentina.”