BioTime, Inc. (NYSE Amex: BTX), a biotechnology company that develops and markets products in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine, announced it has formed LifeMap Sciences, Inc., in collaboration with XenneX, Inc. LifeMap Sciences will develop and commercialize a database of the thousands of cell lineages branching from embryonic stem cells, and their molecular markers. LifeMap Sciences plans to make certain aspects of the database available for use by stem cell researchers at pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and other institutions through paid subscriptions or on a fee-per-use basis. The database will permit users to follow the development of embryonic stem cell lines to the purified progenitor cell lines created by BioTime using its proprietary ACTCellerateTM technology.

Background

Regenerative medicine refers to the development and use of therapies based on human embryonic stem (hES) cell or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology. The great scientific and public interest in regenerative medicine lies in the potential of hES and iPS cells to become all of the cell types of the human body. Many scientists therefore believe that hES and iPS cells have considerable potential as sources of new cell replacement therapies for a host of currently incurable diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson's disease, heart failure, arthritis, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury, macular degeneration, hearing loss, liver failure, and many other disorders where cells and tissues become dysfunctional and need to be replaced.

The complexity of cell types obtainable from hES and iPS cells presents a challenge in the development of cell replacement therapies. Human therapeutic products require a high degree of purity to meet the hurdles of regulatory approval. BioTime's ACTCellerate™ technology was invented as a means of generating over 140 diverse human progenitor cell types from hES or iPS cells in a scalable and highly purified state. These diverse cell lines have applications in basic laboratory research and are being marketed for that purpose. In addition, many of the ACTCellerate cell lines may have important human therapeutic applications. Because the complexity of human development is mirrored by the complexity of cell types arising from hES and iPS cells, there is a great need for a database to aid researchers in selecting the progenitor cell lines that are most likely to develop into tissues usable in cell replacement therapies.

"XenneX currently commercializes GeneCards®, a leading relational database for information on each of the thousands of genes in human DNA, a resource widely used by medical researchers," said Michael D. West, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of BioTime. "In a similar manner, working with XenneX, we plan to accomplish the first detailed roadmap of the complexities of the thousands of cell types that arise from human embryonic stem cells. Just as GeneCards has benefitted the field of molecular biology, we believe the database created by LifeMap Sciences will benefit cell biologists, and will provide high visibility to our diverse portfolio of novel progenitor cell types currently marketed to the research community."

"The opportunity to develop a platform for stem and progenitor cells is one we could not let pass," said David Warshawsky, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board of XenneX, Inc. "The aging baby boom population and rising costs of healthcare make cost-effective therapies in age-related diseases a near-term necessity. Stem and progenitor cells lines are instrumental in helping researchers develop therapeutics for these diseases. We aim to give them one place to find all the information they need to determine which cells they need for their research and the cell-related information necessary to develop life-saving cures in the future."

David Warshawsky, Ph.D. will lead LifeMap Sciences as Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Warshawsky founded XenneX, Inc. in 2003 and currently serves as its Chairman. During the past decade, Dr. Warshawsky has served in a number of management roles at companies engaged in the development of life sciences databases, pharmaceutical products, or investing in the life sciences industry. Prior to moving into the business world, Dr. Warshawsky was engaged in academic research in life sciences. From 1996-1999 he was a research fellow at Harvard and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Warshawsky earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology in 1995 from the University of Illinois at Chicago and his B.Sc. in Biology from Tel Aviv University in 1991.

Source:
BioTime, Inc.
XenneX, Inc.

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