BioTime is to acquire Xennex to take over the latters’ global marketing rights to the GeneCards® and PanDaTox® databases. BioTime says it plans to integrate Xennex into its LifeMap Sciences subsidiary. Under terms of BioTime’s acquisition deal for Xennex, the latter’s shareholders will receive about 13% of outstanding LifeMap common stock (about 1,362,580 shares), and 448,430 BioTime common shares.
Originally developed by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, GeneCards is a searchable, integrated database of human genes that includes genomic, transcriptomic, genetic, proteomic, functional, and disease-related data on all known and predicted human genes. PanDaTox is a more recently developed searchable database used to identify genes and intergenic regions that can’t be cloned in E. coli. BioTime says the resource can be exploited to aid in the discovery of new antibiotics, and other functional genes with relevance for biotechnological applications.
LifeMap Science separately announced that it also anticipates acquiring a license to the Weizmann Institute’s new MalaCards database of human diseases, which is projected for launch at the end of this year. The deal is being negotiated through Yeda Research and Development, the Weizmann Institute's technology transfer company, which effectively also owns the GeneCards and PanDaTox resources.
BioTime says that as well as expanding LifeMap’s database offerings through the Xennex acquisition, it plans to make LifeMap the primary marketing subsidiary for its own research products including its human progenitor cell lines, embryonic stem cell lines, and growth media. BioTime and LifeMap will also embark on a therapeutic discovery collaboration that will exploit the latter’s discovery platform, stem cell database, and newly acquired database products to facilitate developing BioTime’s ACTCellerate™ human progenitor cell lines into therapeutic products, primarily for degenerative diseases.
“We believe that centralized online databases of biological knowledge will become indispensible tools for research in the fields of regenerative medicine," comments Michael D. West, Ph.D., BioTime CEO. “The rising standards for identity and purity in the development of stem cell therapeutics necessitate an international consensus on cell markers, and building the database is one component of BioTime’s strategy to lead in this emerging field of medicine while capturing near-term revenue."