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Pangea, Isadra Ally To Build Life Sciences Electronic Marketplace

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OAKLAND, Calif.--Bioinformatics joined the ranks of industries scrambling to market their wares on the web last week when Pangea Systems announced that it will form an alliance with Palo Alto-based e-commerce company Isadra. The companies plan to develop an infrastructure for a life sciences internet information hub.

Pangea said it will unite its Unified Life Science Environment's application programming interface and other bioinformatics resources with Isadra's Cooperative Commerce (C2) technology platform to create an e-commerce outlet. A spokesman for Isadra, which was founded in 1996 by computer scientists from Stanford University, described C2 as a "software framework or language you can use to implement commercial functions across a lot of suppliers and buyers." Its Java-based Agent software integrates product data from multiple distributed business systems in real time, providing the sort of e-commerce infrastructure employed by emerging internet trading hubs known as vortex businesses.

Ultimately, Pangea and Isadra aim to create an electronic marketplace in which bioinformatics and biopharmaceutical products and data from vendors throughout the industry can be bought and sold.

John Couch, Pangea's CEO said the deal "gives Pangea the potential to develop and offer an e-market information hub designed specifically for the dissemination of life-science information." Couch added, "This relationship represents another step forward in our goal of making valuable information and analysis available to our customers, for both small biotechnology and large pharmaceutical companies."

Spokesman Ted Murguia said Isadra's approach to setting up business-to-business web-based marketplaces is to partner with companies within industries where buyers and sellers are highly fragmented. "This clearly applies to bioinformatics, where a lot of people are generating gene sequences and all the information related to them," he said.

Murguia compared the opportunity for e-commerce in the biopharmaceuticals market to industrial supplies, a market that Isadra now serves. "In the industrial supply space there are hundreds of distributors of tools, and finding them isn't that easy," he told BioInform.

Murguia said several characteristics of the biopharmaceutical industry make it ripe for e-commerce: "This market is already used to getting its information on the web, and people are already used to sharing it," he said. "They understand the value of cooperating with each other to bring all the information together so it's available to everybody." Murguia added, "We have the added benefit that in this industry we could even deliver the end product, data, over the web."

Murguia said Pangea was the obvious choice as Isadra sought its first partner in the biopharmaceuticals industry: "The industry as a whole was very interesting to us, and it happened that our CEO has a relationship with Pangea's founders, so we got together."

--Adrienne Burke

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