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Helicos CEO Resigns

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Ivan Trifunovich is leaving Helicos BioSciences, the company disclosed in a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission after the close of the market on Thursday.

Helicos said that Trifunovich is resigning as president and CEO effective Sept. 14 and resigned as executive chairman of Helicos' board on Aug. 31.

Trifunovich, who also is president and CEO of WaferGen Biosystems, took over the reins at Helicos in October 2010. Trifunovich joined Helicos as a board member in September 2010 when he was appointed its executive chairman.

He had been a consultant to Helicos for about a month prior to that, and previously was senior vice president of Third Wave Technologies before that firm was bought by Hologic. Trifunovich has also held management positions at Pharmacia and Johnson & Johnson.

Helicos has struggled to stay afloat in recent years, and when Trifunovich joined the firm it was in the midst of a restructuring that included at least two rounds of layoffs.

More recently, Helicos reported a 29 percent drop in revenues year over year for the second quarter of 2012. As of Aug. 9, the company had $2.1 million in cash and cash equivalents and warned in its quarterly earnings document filed with the SEC that it did not have enough cash to keep operations running through the next 12 months. Helicos also disclosed that it ended the second quarter with eight full- and part-time employees.

Additionally, Noubar Afeyan and Peter Barrett — who hold positions with Helicos lenders Flagship Ventures and Atlas Ventures — resigned from Helicos' board last month, and last week a federal court ruled against the Cambridge, Mass.-based company in its patent-infringement lawsuit against Illumina, saying that US Patent No. 7,593,109 held by Helicos was invalid due to a "lack of written description."