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Shares of Helicos Continue Rapid Rise

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Shares of Helicos BioSciences have rose nearly 7 percent in afternoon trade today before pulling back to close up .3 percent at $17.44.
 
Since the close of the market on Jan. 8, Helicos’ shares have climbed 76 percent, from $10.50 to this afternoon’s high of $18.60, continuing a weeklong trend that has seen a rapid ascension in the company's stock price. On that day, the firm filed a form 8-K with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, in which it included the initial public release of data on its primary product, the HeliScope next-generation DNA sequencing system.
 
Speaking two days later to investors at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, Helicos President and COO Steve Lombardi said that for sequencing applications, the first HeliScope version will generate 7.5 gigabases of data per two-week run, or about half a gigabase per day, for $18,000 in reagents. These reagent costs translate to $2,400 per gigabase. He also showed that the error rate, which is independent of the read length, is between 1 percent and 1.5 percent.
 
As GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication In Sequence reported this week, these specifications are comparable to next-generation sequencing systems that are currently on the market from such as Illumina’s Genome Analyzer or Applied Biosystems’ SOLiD system.
 
Lombardi did not mention similar specifications for gene-expression analysis, the other main application the company sees for its system.
 
He also noted that the firm has nine HeliScope sequencers on its manufacturing floor right now in various stages of production and testing. He said that although the firm does not have orders for the system yet, interest from potential customers in pharma, academia, and genome centers outnumbers the instruments on its production floor. Lombardi said two of the instruments are in the final stages of production, including validation testing.
 
The firm has not provided any new information since the presentation.

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