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Helicos Narrows Q2 Loss on Lower Costs

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Helicos BioSciences cut its second-quarter net loss significantly on lower R&D and SG&A costs, according to the firm's quarterly filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based firm reported total revenues of $371,000 for the three-month period ended June 30, up from $251,000 for the second quarter of 2008. It said that $213,000 of its revenues in Q2 2009 came from a government research grant, while $158,000 came from product revenue, which primarily consisted of reagent sales.

Helicos cut its net loss to $6.3 million, or $.10 per share, for the quarter, from $11.9 million, or $.57 per share, for the comparable period of 2008.

The decline was due to cost-cutting measures at the firm. Helicos' R&D spending was cut to $3.5 million from $7.1 million year over year, while its SG&A expenses dropped to $2.7 million from $4.8 million. "We believe that we have incurred the substantial majority of the costs related to the development of the initial version of our Helicos System," the firm said in the filing.

Last December, Helicos announced a restructuring, under which it cut around 30 percent of its workforce in an effort to reduce its operating costs.

Last week, Helicos said that it had sold one of its Helicos Genetic Analysis System to "an undisclosed biotechnology company in the Northeast." It followed that announcement this week with another announcing the placement of one of its systems at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. In total, the firm said that it had shipped and installed six of its systems since launching it at the end of 2007 — though Helicos did not disclose if either of the two systems announced over the past two weeks are included in that number.

As of the end of the quarter, Helicos had $8.4 million in cash and cash equivalents. As of today, that figure had decreased to $5 million, according to the filing.

Helicos said that it has sufficient funding to support its operations into the first quarter of 2010. It also stated that it is "actively engaged in discussions with potential strategic partners regarding various financing alternatives and is actively pursuing financing strategies, including equity or debt financings or other sources of funding, such as collaborations, licensing arrangements, joint ventures or partnerships."

In Friday trade on the Nasdaq, shares of Helicos closed down 3 percent at $1.05.