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Helicos Installs Five Sequencers in Q3; Continues Talks with 'Multiple Strategic Parties'

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By Julia Karow

Helicos BioSciences said this week that it installed five Helicos Genetic Analysis systems during the third quarter, bringing its total number of installations to 11.

In an update about its business, the company also said it expects approximately $5 million in cash receipts from previously announced orders and associated reagent purchases during the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2010.

As of mid-August, the company had $5 million in cash and equivalents on hand, but it gained $9.4 million in net proceeds during the third quarter from a private placement through sales of shares of common stock and warrants to existing and new investors. Helicos said it will use the money for working capital requirements to support sales as well as for general corporate purposes.

In addition, Helicos "continues to be actively engaged in discussions with multiple strategic parties." In September, Helicos said it had hired investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners "to assist the company with its evaluation and execution of strategic alternatives" (see In Sequence 9/8/2009).

Last month, Helicos said that the Riken Yokohama Institute Omics Science Center in Japan was going to purchase four of its sequencers (see In Sequence 9/8/2009). Three have now been installed at Riken OSC, while the fourth system has been set up at Helicos' Cambridge, Mass. facility to support ongoing collaborative work between the two partners. All systems are currently "undergoing final testing before being turned over to the customer" before the end of the year, according to the company. Under the collaboration, Helicos and OSC plan to "explore novel methods" with the goal to enable single-cell transcriptome analyses.

The fifth system installed during the third quarter went to Correlagen Diagnostics, which recently launched a genetic test that runs on the Helicos platform (see In Sequence 10/20/2009).

Helicos did not mention in its update a recent amendment of its lease for its facility, which will now expire in March 2010.

The company said it plans to file its quarterly report with the Securities and Exchange Commission on or before Nov. 14.

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