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Helicos 2010 Revenues Spike 47 Percent on Grant Revenue Rise

By a GenomeWeb Staff Reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Helicos BioSciences' 2010 revenues rose 47 percent year over year, the company disclosed in a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission late on Thursday.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based firm did not break out revenues for its fourth quarter.

In its filing, Helicos said that total revenues for the year ended Dec. 31, 2010 increased to $4.4 million, up from $3.0 million in 2009, with the gain coming from grant-related revenues, which spiked more than four-fold to $3.1 million from $701,000 in 2009. That offset a 43 percent drop in product revenue to $1.3 million in 2010 from $2.3 million a year ago.

Grant revenues rose as the company worked on four grants in 2010, compared to two grants the year before.

The decline in product revenue was due primarily to the sale of one Helicos next-generation sequencing platform for $750,000 in 2010, compared to two in 2009 for $1.8 million, while reagent sales inched up to $550,000 in 2010 from $500,000 in 2009, Helicos said. The company stopped production of its Helicos Systems instrument in the first half of 2010 as it shifted its focus to becoming a molecular diagnostics shop.

The company is "no longer actively engaged in the sale of Helicos Systems," it added, and as of Dec. 31, the company had deferred revenues of $7.2 million relating to six platforms, for which all revenue recognition criteria have not been met.

The company shaved its R&D costs in 2010 to $14 million, down 23 percent from $18.3 million in 2009 as a result of cost-reduction measures taken by the company, stemming from its move away from sequencing technology development to the molecular diagnostics space, Helicos said. The change in business strategy led to a savings of $2.3 million in labor costs and a savings of $1.2 million in research support costs.

SG&A spending was trimmed 16 percent year over year to $10.5 million from $12.5 million a year ago, due mostly to the curtailment of sales activity in early 2010 as the company worked on developing its molecular diagnostics strategy, Helicos said.

Helicos' net loss for 2010 was $18.8 million, or $.24 per share, down 33 percent from $28 million, $.42 per share, in 2009.

As of Dec. 31, the company had $2.5 million in cash and cash equivalents.

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