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Helicos Confirms Licensing Deal with PacBio as Part of IP Settlement

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Helicos BioSciences confirmed today that it has settled patent infringement litigation with Pacific Biosciences and has entered into a licensing deal.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

PacBio disclosed the settlement when it announced its first-quarter 2012 financial results earlier this month, saying it had taken a $1.8 million charge related to the resolution of two separate lawsuits involving Helicos and Life Technologies.

PacBio Vice President of Finance and Treasurer Ben Gong told GenomeWeb Daily News at the time that the two settlements did not include licensing deals. But, in a recent Form 10-Q filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, PacBio disclosed it is licensing patents rights to technology from Helicos.

Helicos, headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., confirmed the licensing agreement in its announcement today.

"After carefully evaluating sales trends in the next-generation sequencing marketplace over the last several quarters, including the trend in Pacific Biosciences' sales, and balancing potential future recovery versus litigation cost, we have concluded that the best course of action for Helicos is to settle with Pacific Biosciences," Helicos President, Chairman, and CEO Ivan Trifunovich said in a statement. "The settlement and the associated non-exclusive and non-sublicensable license are narrowly focused on Pacific Biosciences's own technology."

PacBio said in a prepared statement that it has received "worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free licenses to the patents in suit and all patents owned by Helicos in the field relevant to current and future products featuring PacBio’s sequencing technology, and a perpetual covenant not to sue under any patent that Helicos has the right to enforce in such field."

"The settlement frees us from the threat of lawsuits in our field from Helicos for less than the cost of taking this case through trial," Pacific Biosciences CEO Mike Hunkapiller added.

Helico sued PacBio in the summer of 2010 alleging the Menlo Park, Calif.-based next-generation sequencing firm infringed on US Patent Nos.7,645,596; 7,037,687; 7,169,560; and 7,767,400. Helicos later included Illumina and Life Technologies as defendants in the lawsuit.

Today, Trifunovich said that with its case against PacBio concluded, Helicos' attention will be directed at those two companies, "and we plan on continuing to pursue vigorously the patent infringement cases against them."

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