VerticalNet Adds LabX To Its Collection

Just two days after the successful initial public offering of Chemdex (Nasdaq: CMDX), which provides e-commerce solutions for the life sciences industry, business-to-business community network VerticalNet (Nasdaq: VERT) gobbled up one of Chemdex’s competitors. Today, VerticalNet announced the acquisition of labX.com, an online trading community for used and excess scientific laboratory equipment. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

LabX.com offers a variety of e-commerce services for buyers and sellers, including for-sale ads, wanted ads, and auctions. The site offers product listings for the United States, as well as Canada, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

“With over 40,000 buyers and suppliers conducting transactions each month, plus significant auction activity, labX.com is clearly the first mover and leader in this sector of the $9.4 billion (US$) life sciences research products market,” said Mike Hagan, executive vice president of VerticalNet.

LabX.com will serve as the e-commerce portal for VerticalNet’s science industries group, which includes BioResearch online, Drug Discovery online and LaboratoryNetwork.com, a community of research scientists in biomedicine, pharmaceuticals and instrumentation.

“In its viral-like adoption patterns, the growth of the labX community is probably the closest thing we have in the Internet’s entire B2B sector to consumer e-commerce behavior,” Hagan said.

About VerticalNet

VerticalNet operates 43 vertical communities, which are grouped into ten sectors: advanced technologies; communications; environmental; food packaging; food service; hospitality; health care manufacturing; metals processing; science industries; and service. The communities include ElectricNet.com, Nurses.com and E-Dental.com.

Each of VerticalNet’s communities feature editorial content that is updated daily, an online community and a marketplace for buyers and sellers. The company has partnerships with destination sites including Yahoo!, Excite, AltaVista and Deja News. VerticalNet’s flagship property, Water Online, was launched in 1995.

Last Thursday, VerticalNet reported second-quarter revenue of $3.55 million, a 505 percent increase over the same quarter in 1998. The company’s net loss was $6.76 million, or 40 cents per share. The company also announced a 2-for-1 stock split that will be payable on or around August 20th, to shareholders of record on August 9th.

Stock Impact

Shares of VerticalNet climbed 1/4 to 90 in early trading today. Shares of Chemdex climbed 15/16 to 23. Chemdex went public at $15 on Wednesday and closed up 10-1/2 to 25-/12, a gain of 70 percent. The stock climbed as high as 34-7/8.

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