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Helicos Posts Sharp Drop in Q1 Revenues

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Helicos Biosciences reported after the close of the market Monday that its first quarter revenues fell 53 percent as the firm continues to seek additional funds to keep its operations afloat.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based single molecule sequencing technology firm reported total revenues of $551,000 for the three months ended March 31, compared to $1.2 million for the first quarter of 2011. Its product revenues fell to $121,000 from $229,000, while its service revenues declined to $203,000 from $371,000. Its grant revenues dropped to $227,000 from $582,000.

Helicos posted a net loss of $922,000, or $.01 per share, versus a loss of $404,000, or $.00 per share, for Q1 2011.

Its R&D spending fell sharply to 329,000 from $1.2 million year over year, while its SG&A costs increased to $1.1 million from $982,000. In its Form 10-Q filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, it said that the higher SG&A expenses were due to increased third-party litigation expenses and defending its intellectual property.

Earlier in the day, it confirmed a legal settlement with Pacific Biosciences, under which PacBio 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. The financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Helicos is still pursuing patent infringement suits against Life Technologies and Illumina.

In the SEC filing, Helicos said, "Substantially all of the proceeds from the settlement are payable to licensors, bridge note purchasers, and litigation counsel."

Helicos finished the quarter with $130,000 in cash and cash equivalents, down from $1 million at the end of 2011.

"The company continues to require significant additional capital on a month-to-month basis in order to continue its operations beyond the existing $2,000,000 committed portion of the bridge debt financing," Helicos said in the quarterly filing. "As of the date of this filing, all $2,000,000 has been drawn against this committed facility as well as $375,000 of the uncommitted facility on a short-term basis."

It added that the remaining $1,625,000 uncommitted portion of the bridge debt financing facility is a potential source of additional funding, as well as funding from other sources that have not yet been identified. However, Helicos also said that the $1,625,000, if made available by the bridge note purchasers at their sole discretion, "is not sufficient to fund its operations and related litigation expenses through the current planned September 2012 trial date and the ultimate resolution of the pending litigation" with Illumina and Life Tech.

Helicos is in discussions with the bridge note purchasers regarding additional short-term financing to support its operations, but said it has yet to reach such an agreement.

Subsequent to the end of the quarter, Helicos announced that it had sold certain patent applications covering molecular diagnostic applications of its technology to Sequenom for $1.3 million.

Helicos said that following the asset sale, which occurred April 6, it had $1.4 million in cash and cash equivalents, and added that it still requires "substantial additional funding in order to continue our operations."