LifeMap Sciences, Inc., a subsidiary of BioTime, Inc. (NYSE MKT: BTX), announced today the release of GeneCards ®, Version 3.09, on November 18, 2012. The new release is available at www.genecards.org. LifeMap Sciences holds the exclusive worldwide license to market GeneCards ® from Yeda Research and Development Company Ltd., the commercial arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science.
GeneCards ® is a comprehensive online database that provides concise genomic information on all known and predicted human genes. The recent GeneCards ® release greatly enhances the representation of non-protein coding RNA genes based, among other sources, on the ENCODE Project, an international collaborative effort to identify all functional elements in the human genome sequence. With over 12 million page visits per year from hundreds of thousands of unique users worldwide, GeneCards ® is accessed by professionals in academia, research hospitals, patent offices, and leading biotech and pharma companies. GeneCards ® was developed, and is continuously enhanced by ongoing research, by the bioinformatics team at the Department of Molecular Genetics at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, with principal investigator Professor Doron Lancet, head of the Crown Human Genome Center, and team leader Marilyn Safran.
The new GeneCards ® release includes more than 122,000 gene entries. One of the important enhancements is the revamped normal tissue gene expression section, which now shows images for 16 tissues based on RNA-seq data of the Illumina BodyMap project, as well as a greatly enhanced number of 80 tissues from BioGPS. Another key enrichment is expression data in an anatomical and embryonic developmental context, obtained from LifeMap Discovery™, the database of embryonic development, stem-cell research and regenerative medicine. Also included are improved functionality for non-coding RNA genes (multi-source overlap graphics, subcategories, and quality scores) gene-associated diseases from MalaCards ( http://malacards.org), pathways from new sources and new gene-related research reagents.
“The significantly upscaled gene expression and non-coding RNA sectors, as well as the new strong links to MalaCards and LifeMap Discovery™, are parts of our long-term research strategy, and bring new discovery strength to GeneCards ®,” said Professor Doron Lancet, Ph.D., The Ralph D. and Lois R. Silver Professor of Human Genomics, at the Weizmann Institute of Science.“Providing anatomical and developmental context, enriching disease related information, and improving our gene expression data in GeneCards are big steps forward for our platform,” stated Yaron Guan-Golan, Head of Marketing at LifeMap Sciences. “We are delighted to see the continued improvement of GeneCards’ features and content, the establishment of MalaCards, and the inclusion of novel data from our upcoming LifeMap Discovery TM database. The synergies between GeneCards ®, MalaCards and LifeMap Discovery TM will significantly enhance basic research, and contribute greatly to the discovery and development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic products and technologies.” About LifeMap Sciences, Inc. LifeMap Sciences’ ( www.lifemapsc.com) core technology and business is based on its integrated database suite, the discovery platform for biomedical and stem-cell research. This platform includes GeneCards ® , the leading human gene database; LifeMap Discovery™, the database of embryonic development, stem cell research and regenerative medicine; and MalaCards, the human disease database. LifeMap Sciences also markets PanDaTox, an innovative, recently developed, searchable database that can aid in the discovery of new antibiotics and biotechnologically beneficial products. In addition to database offerings, BioTime plans to make LifeMap Sciences BioTime’s principal marketing subsidiary for research products, including PureStem™ human progenitor cell lines, GMP human embryonic stem (hES) cell lines, ESpan™ growth media for progenitor cell lines, and cell differentiation media for non-therapeutic uses, via its LifeMap BioReagents™ portal. LifeMap Sciences will utilize its databases as part of its online marketing strategy to reach life sciences researchers at biotech and pharmaceutical companies and at academic institutions and research hospitals worldwide. In a therapeutic discovery collaboration with BioTime, LifeMap’s scientists utilize LifeMap’s proprietary platform, including LifeMap Discovery, its stem cell database along with the GeneCards ® and MalaCards integrated database suite, to aid in the development of BioTime’s proprietary PureStem™ human progenitor cell lines into products for the treatment of human diseases, especially degenerative diseases that might be treatable with cell replacement therapies. The LifeMap Discovery™ platform will be used to select the progenitor cell lines that are most likely to be useful in developing cell-based regenerative medicine therapies for a wide range of diseases. About BioTime, Inc. BioTime, headquartered in Alameda, California, is a biotechnology company focused on regenerative medicine and blood plasma volume expanders. Its broad platform of stem cell technologies is enhanced through subsidiaries focused on specific fields of application. BioTime develops and markets research products in the fields of stem cells and regenerative medicine, including a wide array of proprietary PureStem™ cell lines, HyStem ® hydrogels, culture media, and differentiation kits. BioTime is developing Renevia™ (formerly known as HyStem ®- Rx), a biocompatible, implantable hyaluronan and collagen-based matrix for cell delivery in human clinical applications. BioTime's therapeutic product development strategy is pursued through subsidiaries that focus on specific organ systems and related diseases for which there is a high unmet medical need. BioTime's majority owned subsidiary Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd. is developing therapeutic products derived from stem cells for the treatment of retinal and neural degenerative diseases. BioTime's subsidiary OrthoCyte Corporation is developing therapeutic applications of stem cells to treat orthopedic diseases and injuries. Another subsidiary, OncoCyte Corporation, focuses on the diagnostic and therapeutic applications of stem cell technology in cancer, including the diagnostic product PanC-Dx™ currently being developed for the detection of cancer in blood samples. ReCyte Therapeutics, Inc. is developing applications of BioTime's proprietary induced pluripotent stem cell technology to reverse the developmental aging of human cells to treat cardiovascular and blood cell diseases. BioTime's subsidiary LifeMap Sciences, Inc. markets GeneCards ®, the leading human gene database, and is developing an integrated database suite to complement GeneCards ® that will also include the LifeMap™ database of embryonic development, stem cell research and regenerative medicine, and MalaCards, the human disease database. LifeMap will also market BioTime research products. BioTime's lead product, Hextend ®, is a blood plasma volume expander manufactured and distributed in the U.S. by Hospira, Inc. and in South Korea by CJ CheilJedang Corporation under exclusive licensing agreements. Additional information about BioTime can be found on the web at www.biotimeinc.com. About the Weizmann Institute of Science The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world's top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions. Noted for its wide-ranging exploration of the natural and exact sciences, the Institute is home to 2,700 scientists, students, technicians and supporting staff. Institute research efforts include the search for new ways of fighting disease and hunger, examining leading questions in mathematics and computer science, probing the physics of matter and the universe, creating novel materials and developing new strategies for protecting the environment.