Micro cap NeoStem, Inc (NBS) has been working in the area of adult stem cells, making notable discoveries and picking up acquisitions along the way. Its business model may have them in the red as of today, but there’s something about the company that has attracted the Vatican’s attention. And money.
The Vatican has placed a $1 million stake in NBS, and they are co-hosting a conference on adult stem cells in Rome this November. According to this blog, the million dollars will help fund “an educational campaign” towards “cultural relevance of such a fundamental shift in medical treatment options, particularly with regard to the impact on theological and ethical issues,” said Rev. Tomasz Trafny of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
What is it the Vatican likes about this company? Perhaps it’s the way it’s supporting a technology that has extradordinary promise in healing people. Maybe it’s simply that the company provides an alternative to embryonic stem cells, and that fight needs to be supported. Or it could be the way that it incorporates charitable institutions and education within its business plans. Of course, there’s also the fact that despite its current financial status, it’s in excellent position to start making a profit within the near future.
It’s very rare for the Vatican to step into the world of finance with both feet. We should pay attention when it does.
(Disclosure: I own no stock in NBS at present, though that may change.)