ALAMEDA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--LifeMap Sciences, Inc., a subsidiary of BioTime, Inc., announced today the release of MalaCards, Version 1.07. The new release is available at http://www.malacards.org/. MalaCards is a database of human diseases and their annotations that is modeled on the architecture and richness of the popular GeneCards® database of human genes (http://www.genecards.org/). The database consolidates disease data from 65 sources and in this version contains 19,811 disease entries, 7,072 of which include associated genes. LifeMap Sciences holds the exclusive worldwide license to market MalaCards from Yeda Research and Development Company Ltd., the commercial arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science.
MalaCards 1.07 includes the following features and improvements:
- New disease phenotypes from the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) in Symptoms section.
- Added anatomical terms to describe disease-affected organs in Anatomical Context section.
- Further improved algorithm for gene disease association, including supporting information from ClinVar variations
- Elaborated mining of ClinVar variations for additional significance types in Variations section.
- Defined and highlighted a new concept called "elite genes" associated with a malady. A malady's elite genes, presented in the Genes section, are those whose gene-disease associations are supported by profound/curated sources.
GeneCards®, the Human Gene Compendium (www.genecards.org), has been updated to reflect the upgraded gene-disease associations.
“I am happy to see the new version of MalaCards, our comprehensive disease compendium,” said Professor Doron Lancet, Ph.D., head of the Crown Human Genome Center at the Weizmann Institute of Science. “In this version, we significantly enhanced two key aspects of disease annotation. The first is phenotyping, whereby we have newly added information from the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) as well as anatomical terms to describe disease-affected organs. A second enhancement regards an improved algorithm for gene-disease association, including newly added information from ClinVar (at the USA National Center for Biotechnology Information), and the introduction of a new concept, ‘elite genes’, that helps distill the best, most carefully curated genes for a disease.”
About LifeMap Sciences, Inc.
LifeMap Sciences’ (www.lifemapsc.com) core technology and business is based on its Integrated Biomedical Knowledgebase and discovery platform for biomedical research, which currently includes GeneCards®: the leading human gene database; LifeMap Discovery®, the database of embryonic development, stem cell research and regenerative medicine; MalaCards, the human disease database; and GeneAnalytics™, a novel gene set analysis tool which leverages our Integrated Biomedical Knowledgebase. LifeMap’s products are used in more than 3,000 institutions including academia, research hospitals, patent offices, and leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. LifeMap Sciences intends to continually improve the quality of its products, and is pursuing several new Internet and informatics products with substantial, rapid-revenue growth potential, leveraging its existing products and their large user base of life scientists. LifeMap also intends to extend its offerings to the field of mobile health via its subsidiary LifeMap Solutions, Inc.
About the Weizmann Institute of Science and GeneCards
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 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, Ph.D. and M.Sc. students, and scientific, technical and administrative staff. In addition, visiting scientists and their families – over 500 from 35 countries are regularly hosted at the Institute. The Institute was founded in 1934 following a donation to Dr. Chaim Weizmann, a noted biochemist and biotechnologist, who envisioned the establishment of a world-class scientific research center in Israel, and later also became the first President of the State of Israel. Weizmann Institute’s Feinberg Graduate School, established in 1958, has 1200 M.Sc. and Ph.D. students enrolled in studies covering the Institute’s five faculties: Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics and Computer Science. The Institute’s technology transfer arm, Yeda Research and Development Co. was the first company of its kind in Israel, and is currently one of the most successful worldwide. 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. Particular excellence in bioinformatics and systems biology is manifested, among others, in the GeneCards project, initiated in 1996, under the leadership of Prof. Doron Lancet of the Dept. of Molecular Genetics, Head of the Crown Human Genome Center. A team of 10 led by Marilyn Safran continuously innovates and keeps GeneCards as a world-top human gene compendium, automatically mining and integrating 100 worldwide web resources.
About BioTime, Inc.
BioTime is a biotechnology company engaged in research and product development in the field of regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine refers to therapies based on stem cell technology that are designed to rebuild cell and tissue function lost due to degenerative disease or injury. BioTime’s focus is on pluripotent stem cell technology based on human embryonic stem (“hES”) cells and induced pluripotent stem (“iPS”) cells. hES and iPS cells provide a means of manufacturing every cell type in the human body and therefore show considerable promise for the development of a number of new therapeutic products. BioTime’s therapeutic and research products include a wide array of proprietary PureStem® progenitors, HyStem® hydrogels, culture media, and differentiation kits. Renevia™ (a HyStem® product), is now in a pivotal trial in Europe as a biocompatible, implantable hyaluronan and collagen-based matrix for cell delivery in the treatment of HIV-related lipoatrophy. In addition, BioTime has developed Hextend®, a blood plasma volume expander for use in surgery, emergency trauma treatment and other applications. Hextend® is manufactured and distributed in the U.S. by Hospira, Inc. and in South Korea by CJ HealthCare Corporation, under exclusive licensing agreements.
BioTime is also developing stem cell and other products for research, therapeutic, and diagnostic use through its subsidiaries:
- Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. is developing pluripotent stem-cell based therapies in neurology and oncology, including AST-OPC1 oligodendrocyte progenitor cells in spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and stroke, and AST-VAC2, an allogeneic dendritic cell-based cancer vaccine.
- BioTime Asia, Ltd., a Hong Kong company, may offer and sell products for research use for BioTime’s ESI BIO Division.
- Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd. is an Israel-based biotechnology company focused on developing stem cell-based therapies for retinal and neurological disorders. OpRegen™ is currently in a Phase I/IIa clinical trial for the treatment of the dry-form of age-related macular degeneration. .
- ESI BIO is the research and product marketing division of BioTime, providing stem cell researchers with products and technologies to enable them to translate their work into the clinic, including PureStem® progenitors and HyStem® hydrogels.
- LifeMap Sciences, Inc. markets, sells, and distributes GeneCards®, the leading human gene database, as part of an integrated database suite that also includes the LifeMap Discovery® database of embryonic development, stem cell research, and regenerative medicine, and MalaCards, the human disease database.
- LifeMap Solutions, Inc. is a subsidiary of LifeMap Sciences focused on developing mobile health (mHealth) products.
- OncoCyte Corporation is developing products and technologies to diagnose and treat cancer, including PanC-Dx™, with four clinical studies currently underway.
- OrthoCyte Corporation is developing therapies to treat orthopedic disorders, diseases and injuries.
- ReCyte Therapeutics, Inc. is developing therapies to treat a variety of cardiovascular and related ischemic disorders, as well as products for research using cell reprogramming technology.
Additional information about BioTime can be found on the web at www.biotimeinc.com.
Statements pertaining to future financial and/or operating results, future growth in research, technology, clinical development, and potential opportunities for BioTime and its subsidiaries, along with other statements about the future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans, or prospects expressed by management constitute forward-looking statements. Any statements that are not historical fact (including, but not limited to statements that contain words such as “will,” “believes,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “estimates”) should also be considered to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and/or commercialization of potential products, uncertainty in the results of clinical trials or regulatory approvals, need and ability to obtain future capital, and maintenance of intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements and as such should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect the business of BioTime and its subsidiaries, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements found in BioTime's Securities and Exchange Commission filings. BioTime disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.