NeoStem Inc., an international biopharmaceutical company with operations in the U.S. and China, has entered into a collaborative research agreement with ImmuneRegen BioSciences Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of IR BioSciences Holdings Inc. (IRBS.OB).

The companies will work together to develop an advanced, adult human stem cell product. Per the agreement, NeoStem will observe and analyze the effects of ImmuneRegen’s lead drug candidate Homspera(R) in combination with NeoStem’s VSEL(TM) technology.

NeoStem provides adult stem cell banking services and is pursuing further research and development of adult stem cell therapies for regenerative purposes in the U.S. and China. The agreement will center on Homspera’s ability to enhance the development of adult stem cells.

“Collaborating with NeoStem will allow ImmuneRegen to accelerate the development of Homspera(R) for adult stem cell applications while, in parallel, supporting other clinical applications of Homspera,” Hal Siegel, Ph.D., ImmuneRegen’s vice president and CEO stated in the press release. “Based on our previous findings that Homspera enhances the development of adult hematopoietic stem cells, we are eager to move forward into broader applications using VSEL(TM) technology with NeoStem. Additionally, marketing opportunities in China are especially interesting for these novel stem cell applications.”

NeoStem’s stem cell harvesting marks an integral step toward overcoming two main challenges of stem cell therapy: the controversy regarding the ethics behind embryonic stem cell use and the immunological problems associated with using donor stem cells.

“We look forward to working with the ImmuneRegen team to evaluate the practical application of our exclusive VSEL(TM) technology and advance our effort in the development of adult stem cell-based therapies,” said Robin Smith, M.D., NeoStem’s chairman and CEO. “Very small embryonic-like stem cells have the potential to improve the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases, including neural, cardiac, orthopedic disorders, and the company is committed to advancing the broad potential applications of the VSEL(TM) technology for diagnostic and therapeutic uses internally and through additional collaborative partnerships in the U.S. and China.”

According to the agreement, NeoStem has the right to execute an option agreement to negotiate an exclusive license to resulting technology. ImmuneRegen and NeoStem’s collaborative efforts will focus on expanding applications of VSEL.