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Helicos' Q2 Grant Revenue Rises; Reagent Issues Affect Orders

This article has been updated to include comments from a conference call and an updated stock quote.
NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Helicos BioSciences this morning reported that its grant revenues rose 75 percent for the three-month period ended June 30, while its net loss increased by 47 percent.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based firm brought in grant revenue of $251,000 compared to $143,000 in the second quarter of 2007. Helicos claimed no revenues from product sales during the quarter.
Helicos President and COO Steve Lombardi in a statement called the second quarter “challenging and productive,” and said the company saw “significant growth in the interest in our single molecule platform.”
"In the quarter, we experienced a delay in converting our increasingly robust sales pipeline into actual, deliverable orders," Lombardi said during the firm's conference call today. "Specifically, we identified reagent stability issues that impacted sequencing performance and limited our ability to generate data to secure orders. We believe we have rectified the issue and now have a clear path forward."
The company said yesterday that an unnamed US cancer research center has ordered its Genetic Analysis System. It is the second order for Helicos' flagship product since its launch earlier this year.
"The instrument at our first customers site, Expression Analysis, continues to make progress," Lombardi added during the call. "The instrument has finished its testing phase and is scheduled to run its first customer samples in the coming weeks."

He added, "Expression Analysis has selected digital gene expression as the first application it will bring up on the system, and has just completed training from our application scientists."

Helicos’ net loss for the quarter grew to $11.9 million, or $.57 per share, compared to $8.1 million, or $.87 per share year over year.

The firm was privately held during part of last year’s second quarter. It went public in May 2007, raising over $43 million.
Helicos' R&D costs increased 34 percent to $7.1 million from $5.3 million year over year, while its SG&A expenses were up 46 percent to $4.8 million from $3.3 million.
The firm closed the quarter holding $24.4 million in cash.
On the final day of the second quarter, the company said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it received $10 million under an amended loan agreement that it originally signed with General Electric Capital Corporation and other lenders in December 2007.
Shares of Helicos were down 5.9 percent at $4.46 in late Wednesday trading on the Nasdaq.

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