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Helicos Sells Certain MDx IP to Sequenom for $1.3M, Warns of Potential Bankruptcy

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Helicos BioSciences has sold certain patent applications covering molecular diagnostic applications of its technology to Sequenom for $1.3 million, the firm disclosed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday after the close of the market.

The US patent applications, Nos. 12/709,057 and 12/727,824, cover methods for detecting fetal nucleic acids and diagnosing fetal abnormalities. Helicos said that the assets are considered "non-strategic to its ongoing business."

Helicos said that following the asset sale, which occurred April 6, it had $1.4 million in cash and cash equivalents, and added that it requires "substantial additional funding in order to continue our operations.

"If we are unable to successfully raise additional capital, we may have to cease operations and/or seek bankruptcy protection," it said in the filing. "If we are required to seek protection from our creditors through a bankruptcy filing, it is likely that there would be little or no assets available for payment or distribution to our stockholders, and that our stockholders will lose their entire investment in us."

Helicos said that in addition to seeking funding, the firm is considering strategic options, such as monetizing certain claims in its ongoing patent litigation, as well as the sale or licensing of some of its assets, or the potential sale of all of its assets.

"We believe it is very unlikely that stockholders would receive any significant value from any such transaction," it cautioned.

Helicos has brought patent infringement cases against Pacific Biosciences, Illumina, and Life Technologies, which are ongoing. All three defendants in those cases have countersued Helicos seeking a declaratory judgment that they are not infringing and a judgment that the Helicos patents are not valid.

As reported yesterday by GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication In Sequence, Helicos had only $34,000 in cash and cash equivalents as of March 23.