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LifeMap Sciences Announces Publication of Research Report Describing the MalaCards Database of Human Diseases

Thu, 04/18/2013 - 9:00am
The Associated Press

ALAMEDA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr 18, 2013--LifeMap Sciences, Inc., a subsidiary of BioTime, Inc. (NYSE MKT: BTX), announced today that its MalaCards database has been recognized in a published paper by the Weizmann Institute of Science research group under the supervision of Prof. Doron Lancet from the Department of Molecular Genetics, in collaboration with LifeMap Sciences. MalaCards (available as of Oct 2012 via www.malacards.org ), 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 (available at www.genecards.org ). LifeMap Sciences holds the exclusive worldwide license to market GeneCards® and MalaCards, from Yeda Research and Development Company Ltd., the commercial arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

The publication titled “MalaCards: an integrated compendium for diseases and their annotation” in the open access peer-reviewed journal DATABASE (Oxford Press) can be viewed via the link http://database.oxfordjournals.org/content/2013/bat018.full.pdf?keytype=ref&ijkey=MEtqc5V6fAKchaq. The publication describes the extensive disease classification, integration and annotation utilized in MalaCards in order to establish a novel, inclusive, database of human diseases, which portrays a web card or “MalaCard” for each of close to 17,000 human diseases, with systematic search mechanisms. MalaCards currently mines and merges 44 data sources, with additional sources expected to be added in upcoming versions, and is empowered by the GeneCards® relational database, search engine, and GeneDecks set-analyses. Each MalaCard is composed of 15 sections including: Summary, Related Diseases, Clinical Features, Affiliated Genes, Drugs & Therapeutics, Genetic Tests, Anatomical Context and References, as well as inter-disease connections. Upcoming releases are expected to include hierarchical classification of diseases, and disease set analyses, striving to make MalaCards an even more effective tool for biomedical research.

LifeMap’s core integrated database suite, the discovery platform for biomedical and stem cell research includes GeneCards®, MalaCards and LifeMap Discovery ™, the database of embryonic development, stem cell research and regenerative medicine. LifeMap clients and partners include dozens of large, fee-paying pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as leading government patent offices.

“The universe of human diseases has intrigued me for a long time as a complex realm requiring the same systematic approach we have used in GeneCards® for human genes. It is a pleasure to see this vision come true,” said Professor Doron Lancet, Ph.D., The Ralph D. and Lois R. Silver Professor of Human Genomics, at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

“The publication describing MalaCard s in a leading journal in its field is a validation of the high scientific value and quality of this database of human diseases,” stated Yaron Guan-Golan, Head of Marketing at LifeMap Sciences. “Over our 10 year collaboration, the Lancet group at the Weizmann Institute of Science has published more than 20 papers relating to GeneCards®. We expect to see many more publications demonstrating the leading edge scientific quality of both MalaCards and GeneCards®, and their ability to significantly enhance basic research, as well as applied biomedical research.” 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. According to Google Analytics, the sites have generated more than 2,000,000 unique visitors with more than 13,000,000 page views in the past 12 months. 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, LifeMap Sciences is 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 utilizes 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, 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 Sciences also markets BioTime research products and PanDaTox, an innovative, recently developed, searchable database that can aid in the discovery of new antibiotics and biotechnologically beneficial products. Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. is a new subsidiary being used to acquire the stem cell assets of Geron Corporation, including patents and other intellectual property, biological materials, reagents and equipment for the development of new therapeutic products for regenerative medicine. 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 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 2,700 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 in 2010 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 was established in 1958, where about 1000 M.Sc. and Ph.D. students are enrolled in studies covering the Institute’s 18 departments, which are grouped into 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.

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