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Invitrogen Launches iPath

By Maureen McDonough

Aug 15, 2005 | After two years of development, Invitrogen has unveiled iPath, a free bioinformatics and systems biology research tool that can be found on the company’s Web site. The release is part of Invitrogen’s long-term strategy of positioning products in a platform for biological pathway research.

iPath allows users to click their way through 2,500 human genes, 171 signal transduction pathways, and 54 metabolic pathways. The 225 annotated maps were compiled by GeneGo Inc., a provider of databases and software for systems biology. A team of more than 40 scientists gathered information from thousands of scientific papers to create and annotate the pathway maps.

“One challenge that everyone faces when they get to a certain point in their research is where to find reagents,” says Siamak Baharloo, marketing manager, bioinformatics and eCommerce, for Invitrogen. “This is not always an easy thing to do.” iPath, however, simplifies the transition from planning research to executing experiments — using Invitrogen products. “[iPath] is more of a research tool, and not so much a marketing tool. But if it does both, all the better,” Baharloo says.

The surface proteins, enzymes, and membrane channels create a user-friendly interface that links to iPath’s shopping cart, the “ice bucket.” Antibodies, siRNA, DNA clones, and other biological products specific to the pathway being viewed appear just to the right of the pathway map. Click on a protein kinase in the p53-dependent apoptosis pathway and up pops a certified primer set for the human gene, two types of monoclonal antibodies, and five siRNA analysis products.

So far, the feedback on iPath has been very positive, Baharloo says. And researchers didn’t view the ice bucket as a nuisance when asked about the feature. In general, scientists wanted to see more pathways and more products, and Invitrogen plans to deliver. iPath will be continuously updated with information and products and will be expanded to include more disease pathways and clinically relevant information.

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