BioTime and Embryome Sciences Launch Embryome.com and the International Embryome Initiative
News Jun 30, 2008
BioTime, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary Embryome Sciences, Inc. announced the launch of Embryome.com and the International Embryome Initiative, an international collaboration with scientists around the world to create the first systematic map of all the cell types derived from human embryonic stem cells.
In a paper published titled “The International Embryome Initiative: A Collaborative Database for Navigating the Complexities of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation,” available online at www.futuremedicine.com/loi/rme, BioTime and Embryome Sciences describe the collaboration to map the “embryome” in a manner similar to the international initiatives to map the human DNA or genome in the 1990s.
While the database launched at Embryome.com is currently populated with nearly 2,000 distinct cell types, the complete map will require the collective efforts of hundreds of scientists over the coming months.
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which is the funding arm of the $3 billion California stem cell initiative, has agreed to be the first subscriber to all features of the database on behalf of all researchers residing within the state of California.
“Human embryonic stem (hES) cells have the innate potential to become all of the diverse cell types of the human body,” said Dr. Michael D. West, CEO of BioTime and Embryome Sciences.
“However, understanding how to control and use that potential is the greatest challenge in the field of regenerative medicine today. The sheer complexity of cell types and the lack of an international standard of the markers that distinguish the cell types are slowing the advance of the field. We hope this collaborative map will speed the day when life-saving therapies can be translated from the laboratory to the host of patients suffering from life-threatening disease.”
Like other collaborative databases, Embryome.com offers an online discussion forum where scientists can debate issues, exchange ideas, and transmit data related to stem cell research for the data base. An editorial board will ultimately control the content of the site.
At Embryome.com, Embryome Sciences and other companies will market a host of specialty research products and supplies, including ESpan™ cell culture media, for scientists to use in the field of stem cell research. Other products that Embryome Sciences has planned for future sale on Embryome.com include Espy™ cell lines, which will be gene trapped and constitutive derivatives of hES cells that send beacons of light in response to the activation of particular genes.
The progenitor ESpy™ cell lines will be produced and distributed in joint efforts with Lifeline Cell Technology, LLC utilizing Embryome Sciences’ proprietary “Embryomics™” technology, International Stem Cell’s proprietary parthenogenetic stem cell lines derived from unfertilized human eggs, and technology and approved hES cell lines licensed by BioTime from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). Data on these cell lines also will be presented on the embryome.com online database.
According to Dr. West, “While many have focused on the therapeutic opportunities of hES cells, and the generous $3 billion of funding provided by the State of California to fund this research, we believe that the greatest rate of return on investment may be in commercializing research products. We intend to win the race to profitability in this important field of medicine.”
The spatial and temporal dynamics of proteins or organelles plays a crucial role in controlling various cellular processes and in development of diseases. However, acute control of activity at distinct locations within a cell cannot be achieved. A new chemo-optogenetic method enables tunable, reversible, and rapid control of activity at multiple subcellular compartments within a living cell.