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Helicos Eyeing Potential MDx Applications as FY 2009 Revenues Hit $3M

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Helicos BioSciences last night filed its 2009 annual report with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which disclosed a sharp rise in its revenues and decline in its net loss.

Though its financial results were improved, the Cambridge, Mass.-based single-molecule sequencing technologies firm, cautioned that its auditors had included a "going concern" statement in their audit of the results. In addition, Helicos said that it will need to raise additional funding before the end of 2010.

Helicos also said that it is considering a repositioning of the firm's strategy in the genetic analysis markets. In particular, the firm cited the molecular diagnostics market as a likely fit for its technologies.

"Although we made progress during 2009 in the genetic research market as demonstrated by our growing installed base and the number of peer reviewed publications referencing our single molecule sequencing technology, we believe that Helicos must consider a number of alternatives to improving shareholder value and, as a result, have embarked upon this process with a view toward repositioning Helicos' highly differentiated single molecule sequencing solution," the firm said in its Form 10-K.

It noted that it is continuing its relationship with investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners to assist in evaluating and executing strategic alternatives and its long-term financing strategy. "We have also engaged a variety of consultants in the genomic research, services and diagnostics industries to evaluate available alternatives," Helicos added in the filing.

The firm said that the repositioning evaluation process will take "at least several months." During this time, it said it will "focus its limited resources on satisfying current customer needs and stabilizing system performance, which has varied at some customer and placement sites."

Helicos finished the year with $15.9 million in cash and cash equivalents. It said that it will need to raise additional funding before the end of this year "in order to sustain our business and to exploit any new business opportunities."

For the fourth-quarter of 2009, Helicos reported revenues of $340,000, up from $242,000 in revenues for Q4 2008. Its net loss for the quarter declined to $8.2 million, or $.11 per share, from $10.5 million, or $.42 per share.

Helicos' R&D spending increased to $7.1 million from $6.2 million year over year, while its SG&A spending inched up to $3.8 million from $3.7 million.

For full-year 2009, Helicos reported total revenues of $3 million, more than triple its 2008 revenues of $808,000. Its product revenue jumped sharply to $2.3 million from only $36,000 in 2008, while its grant revenue declined slightly to $701,000 from $772,000.

Helicos said that it recognized revenue on two of its 10 sales orders for Helicos Systems during the year.

The firm cut its net loss for the year to $28 million, or $.42 per share, from $45.7 million, or $2.10 per share.

Its R&D expenses fell to $18.3 million from $24.6 million, while its SG&A spending dropped to $12.5 million from $20.1 million.

Helicos disclosed that for the year ended 2009 it had received cumulative sales orders for 10 Helicos Systems. The firm also said that it has a system installed at the Broad Institute on a no-cost basis and three systems placed at academic institutions for scientific and commercial evaluation.

In early Friday trade on the Nasdaq, shares of Helicos were down 10 percent at $.81.

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