South Korean medical company Histostem Co Ltd said it plans to open the world’s first hospital exclusively providing treatment using stem cells obtained from umbilical cord blood.

The firm said it is close to a final agreement with an unnamed European investment company to set up the hospital in the southern resort island of Jeju in the first half of 2007.

Under the accord, Histostem and the European investor will jointly put in 80 mln usd to set up a hospital with some 100 beds, company officials told Agence France-Presse.

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Histostem, inc. (Hoon Han, CEO) is a biotechnology company that is developing the latest human cell-based therapy. It is pioneering cell-based therapy with stem cells, free of ethical problems. The main divisions of Histostem, inc. are cell therapy research, public cord blood bank for transplantation, family cord blood bank, and Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) Assay.