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Helicos' Q2 Revenues Rise 78 Percent as Cash Dwindles

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Helicos BioSciences' revenues for the second quarter rose 78 percent as grant revenues increased by 170 percent, the company disclosed in a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission after the close of the market on Monday.

For the three months ended June 30, total revenues bounced to $661,000 from $371,000 a year ago. While product revenue dropped to $85,000 from $158,000 in Q2 2009, grant revenues shot up to $576,000 from $213,000 year over year.

Grants awarded during the second quarter included a three year grant for up to $1.6 million from the National Human Genome Research Institute for research into RNA sequencing. Helicos recognized $58,000 in revenue through the first six months of the year under the grant.

Another grant from the Children's Oncology Group to create large-scale datasets and obtain novel information about cancer genomes, with a focus on Ewing's sarcoma, generated $200,000 for Helicos during the first half of 2010.

And in June, the company was given a Phase 1 SBIR grant from NHGRI to develop methods of sequencing patient DNA samples at an attomole level. Under this grant, Helicos is eligible for up to $146,000 through November, and in the first half of the year recognized $20,000 in revenue under the grant.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based company, which is undergoing a restructuring with a new focus on the diagnostics space, said losses for the quarter contracted to $4.7 million, $0.06 per share, from $6.3 million, $0.10 per share, a year ago.

R&D spending during the quarter rose to $4.2 million from $3.5 million a year ago, while SG&A costs were flat at $2.7 million.

As of June 30, Helicos had $6.2 million in cash and cash equivalents, and the firm said that as of Aug. 11, its cash and cash equivalents had shrunk to $3.7 million.

In its SEC filing, the company said that before the end of the third quarter, it will require "significant additional capital to continue its operations." Helicos is actively pursuing "various financing strategies," it added, and plans to raise necessary funds through public or private sales of equity, from borrowings, or from strategic partners.

The company also disclosed it has ended its relationship with Thomas Weisel Partners, which had been advising Helicos in evaluating strategic alternatives and a long-term financing strategy.

Last week, the company provided an update on the costs it anticipates incurring as part of its restructuring, saying the cost is now expected to be about $667,000, up from an earlier estimate of between $550,000 and $650,000.

In addition to a restructuring of its business, the firm is facing possible delisting from Nasdaq for failing to meet certain listing requirements.

As part of its new iteration as a diagnostics company, Helicos is developing a molecular diagnostic test to identify gene mutations that may be predictive of a woman's increased risk for developing hereditary or ovarian cancer. The company anticipates launching the test in the second quarter of 2011.