Comparison shopping for laboratory equipment and materials can be a real drag. Scanning catalogs and searching company Web sites are time-consuming procedures, and costly decisions are often made based only on information provided by the vendor. of Burlingame, Calif., brings some relief to frustrated scientific shoppers by combining unbiased comparison product information with reviews from scientists who have used the products in their own research.

Paul Gatti, president and CEO of Biocompare, says that he and his colleagues decided to develop the site after attempting to purchase a multichannel pipettor for their laboratory. They considered three factors common to equipment purchases: specifications, price, and user opinions; Biocompare supplies all three, free of charge. "We consider ourselves a medium that offers the most life science product information available, because we offer the specifications in comparison format, and with one click, people can go directly to the product page of...

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