Labs Find Love, Ahem, Leads Online

Her blue eyes and smile and his rugged good looks are just the incentives he or she might need to click open a profile on an Internet dting stie. Microbiologists, too, find these lures on a Web site that brings labs and life science companies together.

Pork purveyor ponders rancidity rancher for superior food safety. Cooked lobster meat processor in China seeks a phosphorus-finding lab for regular, quality tryst. Honey maker longs for pollen counter.

While the wording might not be exact, this is the gist of what life science companies and contract laboratories find at www.contractlaboratory.com.

“We’ve been compared to an Internet dating site before,” says Ron Murray, director of the Calgary, Alberta, Canada-based Internet company. “We bring people together.”

The site not only offers leads for labs seeking work in a host of industries, including food and beverage, nutraceutical, agriculture, pharmaceutical, medical devices, biotechnology and cosmetics, but it is also an e-marketplace for careers, advice, products, articles and case studies.

The search for a contract laboratory that can do everything from testing for total phosphorous in frozen cooked lobster meat to chemical residues in nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals perhaps starts in the yellow pages, gradually progresses to a reliable trade journal and then ultimately ends up on the Internet.

At least that’s what Murray and Pamela Wertalik, company president and a former safety officer in the FDA’s New Jersey office, are hoping. And it seems to be already happening for the 18-month-old startup. Last year, the site help make 381 connections. At the time of this report, 335 connections had already been made in 2005 and Murray estimates that the site will do in excess of 1,000 for the whole year.

Casting a Line

There are plenty of fish in the sea when it comes to contract laboratories and probably even more situations – compromising and uncompromising.

As with any Internet dating site, the bashful and bold can flourish by simply casting a line to see who bites.

Visitors to www.contractlaboratory.com are encouraged to register for membership, which is free and allows access to search and browsing functions for labs or jobs. Once a new member’s information is received, a randomly generated password is e-mailed to them for future log-ins. The membership does not, however, allow access to laboratory test request, business opportunities and product requests details and contact information.

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