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Helicos Appoints New CEO; Launches Technology Licensing Program


This story was originally published Oct. 14.

Helicos BioSciences said last week that it has appointed Ivan Trifunovich as its new president and CEO, replacing Ron Lowy, who will remain on the company's board of directors. The firm also launched a licensing program for its single-molecule sequencing technology.

Trifunovich has served as a consultant for Helicos since August. Most recently, he was a strategic consultant to global life sciences companies, and before that, senior vice president of Third Wave Technologies.

Under the new licensing program, Helicos will offer its patent portfolio — comprising about 48 patents and 90 patent applications — "to encourage broad commercialization of genetic sequencing-by-synthesis and other related technologies," Trifunovich said in a statement.

The company plans to leverage its IP estate through licensing, partnering, and enforcement strategies. "Our plan is to vigorously defend our IP rights," he said.

"We intend to create the maximum value from our strong intellectual property portfolio in single-molecule sequencing, which we consider to be an absolute requirement for anyone competing in the rapidly growing next-generation, single-molecule sequencing market."

Pacific Biosciences already got a taste of Helicos' enforcement strategy this summer, when the firm filed a lawsuit against PacBio for alleged infringement of four of its US patents (IS 8/31/2010).

PacBio stated in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it does not infringe the patents, which "are invalid and unenforceable."

Helicos has been undergoing a restructuring since the spring in an effort to preserve its dwindling cash reserves, which stood at $2.3 million as of Sept. 20. Last month, the company said it would lay off 14 additional employees, bringing its total headcount to at most 25 (IS 9/28/2010).