California-based BioTime Inc. and XenneX Inc. have announced a joint venture to “develop and commercialize a database of the thousands of cell lineages branching from embryonic stem cells and their molecular markers.” Called LifeMap Sciences, the joint venture will allow stem cell researchers at pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and institutions to follow the development of embryonic stem cell lines “to the purified progenitor cell lines” created through BioTime’s ACTCelerate™ technology. Users will pay a subscription or a fee based on use.

XenneX, with worldwide operations in Massachusetts, Israel and China, offers GeneCards®, a “relational database for information on each of thousands of genes in human DNA” used by medical researchers. “The opportunity to develop a platform for stem and progenitor cells is one we could not let pass,” said company chair David Warshawsky. “The aging baby boom population and rising costs of health care 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.” See BioTime Press Release, April 5, 2011.