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Helicos Grant Revenue Rises in Q1; Cuts Net Loss

This article has been updated to include comments from a conference call and a stock quote.
NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Helicos BioSciences today reported a 22.8 percent increase in grant revenue for the three-month period ended March 31, while cutting its net loss by more than half.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based firm brought in grant revenue of $113,000 compared to $92,000 in the first quarter of 2007. Helicos has no revenues from product sales during the quarter, though it did ship its first Helicos Genetic Analysis System to genomics services firm Expression Analysis in early March.
Helicos President and COO Steve Lombardi said during the firm’s conference call today that many prospective customers have visited the firm’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., to get a demonstration of the Genetic Analysis System, though no additional orders have been placed yet.

“I note that some of our strongest prospects are current users of other next-generation sequencing equipment, who are now out looking for a platform that doesn’t just increase sequencing throughput but enables them to derive better knowledge from their experiments,” said Lombardi.

“The process we’re going through is just like any other company with disruptive technology contained in a large capital equipment instrument system,” he said referring to the initial sales push for the sqeuencing system.

Helicos officials said that the firm currently has 12 instruments in various stages of production. Lombardi added during the call that three of those are in final testing for customer use.

Helicos cut its net loss to $11.8 million, or $.57 per share, compared to $26.5 million, or $17.90 per share. The firm was privately held at the time of last year’s first quarter. It went public in May 2007, raising over $43 million.
Helicos' R&D costs increased 5.3 percent to $5.7 million from $5.4 million year over year, while its general and administrative expenses nearly doubled to $6.2 million from $3.3 million.
The firm finished the quarter with $37.9 million in cash.
Shares of Helicos were down 1.1 percent at $6.08 in late Tuesday trade on the Nasdaq.

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