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Expression Analysis is First Customer for Helicos Next-Gen Sequencer

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - Helicos BioSciences said today that genomic services firm Expression Analysis is the first customer for its Helicos Genetic Analysis System.
Helicos announced in early February that it had taken its first order for the single-molecule DNA sequencing platform, but did not disclose the identity of the customer at the time.
Steve McPhail, president and CEO of Expression Analysis, said in a statement that the system has applications in de novo sequencing, candidate gene sequencing, and digital gene expression that will enable the company to offer “significant value-added services” to its clients.
“For example, we will now be able to conduct cost-effective follow-up to genome-wide association studies through targeted resequencing," he said.
Steve Lombardi, president and COO at Helicos, said in a statement that genomic services firms like Expression Analysis “represent a whole new class of customers who, together with the traditional genome centers, can use our platform to derive in-depth biological meaning from genetic information and enable the use of genetic information in ways we can only imagine today.”
The Helicos Genetic Analysis System is based on the company’s HeliScope Single Molecule Sequencer, which does not require DNA amplification. The company said that future generations of its chemistry will “enable whole human genome analysis at or below $1,000.”
In a presentation at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference earlier this year, Lombardi said that the initial version of the system offers between 25 megabases per hour and 90 megabases per hour, depending on the application. He said at the time that the system can perform whole-genome sequencing at 10x coverage in eight weeks at a cost of $72,000.
An Expression Analysis spokesperson said that the company has not yet accepted delivery of the system. She said she was unable to provide a timeline for when the firm will begin offering sequencing services on the platform, noting that it must first perform structural work on its facility to support the weight of the instrument.
Financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed.
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