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Helicos' Cash Decreases to $200K; CEO Goes Part-Time

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Helicos BioSciences said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission Friday that it has approximately $200,000 in cash and cash equivalents remaining and will require "significant additional capital" to continue operations.

The company's CEO, Ivan Trifunovich, also has taken on the position of president and CEO of Fremont, Calif.-based WaferGen Biosystems but will remain Helicos' president and chief executive on a part-time basis, "as he has done during the past six months," according to the firm.

Helicos disclosed in the filing that on Jan. 13, it issued secured promissory notes worth $200,000 to "certain investment funds" that are affiliated with its financial backers Flagship Ventures and Atlas Venture. Last month, it extended the maturity date of those notes to March 31.

The company used the proceeds of the notes, along with its available cash, to repay outstanding loans to lenders, including General Electric Capital.

The notes were initially issued with a 12-day maturity "in anticipation of closing a larger financing," which has not yet happened.

Principal and interest on the notes are due either when the purchasers demand it "at any time on or after the maturity date" or when the company defaults. The notes are secured by the company's assets, including its intellectual property.

Helicos said it is "in active discussions" with the purchasers of its notes "regarding the possibility of additional short-term financing" to support its operations. Last December, the company already obtained a $700,000 cash advance from Atlas and Flagship under a bridge loan agreement from 2010.

"If Helicos is unable to execute its operations according to its plans and obtain additional financing, Helicos will be forced to cease operations," the firm said in the SEC filing.

The company has not yet reported its revenues and earnings for the fourth quarter of 2011. As of November of last year, it had 10 employees.

Helicos also is locked in IP litigation with Pacific Biosciences, Illumina, and Life Technologies. The patents at stake are currently under reexamination by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.