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Medicinal Genomics Introduces an iPad App to Explore the Science of Medical Marijuana

January 12, 2012
Business Wire - January 12, 2012

MARBLEHEAD, Mass. - Medicinal Genomics, a pioneer in the genomics of medicinal plants, today announced the availability of Jane-Ome, an application designed for Apple's iPad tablet, which offers a science-based dissection of medical marijuana.

Jane-Ome provides a gateway to the Cannabis genome project led by Medicinal Genomics, which in August 2011 sequenced the entire genome of Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica, assembling the largest known gene collection of this therapeutic plant.

"Medicinal Genomics is excited to roll out Jane-Ome to help make sense of the extensive datasets created by the Cannabis genome project," said Kevin McKernan, founder and head of scientific operations of Medicinal Genomics. "The company's hope is that Jane-Ome will help make that data more relevant to the public and serve as a conduit for future Cannabis genomes." Jane-Ome provides users with continuously updated, exclusive genomic information on various Cannabis genomes. In addition, the app provides users with access to several scientific news feeds that explore the science of medicinal Cannabis, making Jane-Ome the nerve center to explore the plant's therapeutic potential.

In addition to its encyclopedic information about the bleeding-edge science of Cannabis, Jane-Ome users can compete in Cannabis related trivia to earn the right to guide future sequencing efforts. Users can also explore never before released blueprints for the equipment used to crack the human genome project, as well as access videos which explain the impact DNA sequencing and genomics have had on the world. Furthermore, Jane-Ome provides users with access to never before seen videos documenting the history of the human genome project, as well as commentary from members of that scientific consortium explaining how research has led them to aim their sights on unlocking the genome of Cannabis.

Medicinal Benefits of Cannabis Ongoing scientific research suggests that the Cannabis plant harbors beneficial compounds as it pertains to cancer apoptosis, antiemesis for HIV and chemotherapy patients, reduction of muscle spasms for multiple sclerosis patients, as well as the treatment of glaucoma, inflammatory diseases, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among other health conditions. Of the 85 identified Cannabinoids in the plant, only one is independently psychoactive. The other 84 appear to be non-psychoactive and are still powerful therapeutics. Many Cannabinoids have been bred to low expression levels over the years but are excellent small molecule therapeutic drug candidates for cancer and inflammatory diseases. The genome sequence can be utilized to design breeding strategies to resurrect these nearly extinct pathways. In addition, Cannabinoids have also been shown to have a very favorable therapeutic index making them a unique class of anti-cancer compounds because the lethal dose is much higher than the effective dose. Furthermore, Cannabinoids are less addictive analgesics than opiates, and target different pain pathways in the body.

Another benefit of Cannabis as a source for a therapeutic drug is that its toxicity is low and well-known. This is unique in drug discovery where every drug candidate must go through expensive and lengthy clinical trials to establish its safety. With Cannabis, side effects have previously been established and might be mitigated with genome directed breeding, whereas many drug candidates are not easily modified and end up failing in clinical trials because of adverse effects on a small percentage of the population.

The American Medical Association, as well as the American College of Physicians each have independently issued reports on the medicinal benefits of Cannabis to justify a reclassification of the plant so it can be more easily researched. By digitizing the genome of Cannabis, researchers from around the world can now study this plant without having to handle it. Assembling the complete Cannabis genome was a logical first step to enable more comprehensive scientific research to begin.

About Medicinal Genomics Medicinal Genomics is the first known organization to sequence the complete genomes of Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. Aside from being a useful tool to discover small molecule therapeutic drug candidates, there are many other commercial applications of these sequences, including the design of genomic assays that measure genes predictive of Cannabinoid levels in the plants at seedling stages. Use of this information will enhance breeding strategies to develop high Cannabidiol (CBD) or other medicinal traits into strains. These genomic assays can also be utilized to help regulate the medicinal Cannabis market through better oversight and labeling. The non-psychoactive plant known as hemp is also a productive plant for fiber production and may benefit from genome sequencing in its pursuit to improve breeding programs.

The company was founded by Kevin McKernan, a recognized thought leader and innovator in DNA sequencing. Kevin, along with his two brothers, founded Agencourt Bioscience, and helped create one of the most successful commercial DNA sequencing companies in the world prior to selling the company to Beckman Coulter in 2005. In 2005, Kevin also co-founded Agencourt Personal Genomics, a technology startup focused on developing SOLiD, a cutting edge next generation sequencing technology, which he and his team sold to Applied Biosystems in 2006. He most recently served as vice president of advanced research and head of research and development for the Ion Torrent division of Life Technologies.

Medicinal Genomics maintains its corporate headquarters in Marblehead, Mass. All scientific operations are conducted at the company's research facility in Amsterdam, Netherlands. For further information, please visit www.medicinalgenomics.com.

Contacts Schwartz MSL Benjamin Navon/Rachel Gross, +1 781-684-0770 medgen@schwartzmsl.com

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