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ALAMEDA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--LifeMap Sciences, Inc., a subsidiary of BioTime, Inc., announced today the release of MalaCards, Version 1.04. The new release is available at http://www.malacards.org. MalaCards is a new 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). LifeMap Sciences holds the exclusive worldwide license to marketMalaCards from Yeda Research and Development Company Ltd., the commercial arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science.
MalaCards 1.04 includes several new features and improvements. This includes the introduction of data from OrphaNet and NCBI BioSystems; a new algorithm for affiliating and ranking genes to diseases; classification of diseases using the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10); improvement of disease search via the addition of hit-context; the addition of disease DNA variations related to disease, and the introduction of research reagents.
“I was delighted to have an opportunity to present this new MalaCards version at a session I headed on ‘Disease Bioinformatics’ at the conference of the International Society for Computational Biology in Berlin last July. It was an excellent opportunity to compare notes with other scientists in this realm,” said Professor Doron Lancet, Ph.D., Head of the Crown Human Genome Center, at the Weizmann Institute of Science and principal investigator of MalaCards.
“We continue to see improvement of MalaCards’ features and content, including the addition of research reagents,” stated Yaron Guan-Golan, Head of Marketing at LifeMap Sciences. “Further, the addition of classification via ICD-10 and DOID addresses an important need in the industry for standardization and allows for seamless integration with existing enterprise software.”
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. TheLifeMap 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 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 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.