Fast on the heels of the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to establish full diplomatic relations, Haifa-based Pluristem Therapeutics signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Center to advance cell therapies for diseases including Covid-19.

“The aim of the collaboration is to capitalize on each company’s respective areas of expertise in cell therapies to deliver regenerative medicine for the benefit not only of the citizens of the UAE and Israel, but for humanity as a whole,” Pluristem explained in a press release on August 17.

As ISRAEL21c reported earlier, Pluristem has treated patients with its placental PLX-PAD allogenic product via compassionate use programs in Israel and the United States and is currently conducting phase II studies in the US and EU.

Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Center has been treating Covid-19 patients with stem cells sourced from the patient’s blood, by returning the cells back into the patient’s lungs as a fine mist through a nebulizer.

The collaboration, initiated by the Better Alternatives advisory firm, would involve exchanging research results, patient samples and testing equipment.

“I believe it is our obligation and privilege as business and scientific leaders to lead the way forward to strengthen collaborations, and promote innovation and education. We are honored to be on the front line of this historical moment,” stated Pluristem CEO and President Yaky Yanay.

This is not the first Covid-related joint project between the two countries.

In July, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries signed agreements with Abu Dhabi’s Group 42 concerning R&D collaborations for solutions to SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19. On August 15, UAE’s APEX National Investment signed a strategic commercial agreement with Israel’s TeraGroup concerning SARS-CoV-2 research.

The Pluristem-Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Center MoU was signed in a video conference. But soon it may be possible to make a three-hour flight between the two Middle East countries for the first time. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is working on establishing a direct route between Tel Aviv and Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which would fly over Saudi Arabia.