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Helicos' Q4 Grant Revenues Double; Expects Instrument Revenue in '09

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Helicos BioSciences reported in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday after the close of the market that its fourth-quarter grant revenues increased to $206,000 from $117,000 year over year.

The firm also reported its first ever product revenue, totaling $36,000 for the three-month period ended Dec. 31, 2008. The company said in the filing that it expects to "recognize revenue from one of our initial 2008 instrument shipments in 2009."

Helicos, which makes the single-molecule sequencing Helicos Genetic Analysis Platform, shipped two of its systems in 2008, one of which was returned to the company. "Future revenues from sales of our instruments, proprietary reagents and disposable supplies will depend on individual customer agreements, timing of the installation and turnover to customer, customers' use of the system and our ability to maintain our proprietary position on the reagents and disposable supplies," it said in the 10-K.

Helicos posted a net loss of $10.5 million, or $.42 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2008, compared to a net loss of $10.4 million, or $.50 per share, for the comparable period of 2007. The firm's R&D spending dropped 9 percent to $6.2 million from $6.8 million, while its SG&A spending declined 10 percent year over year.

Helicos incurred restructuring charges of $433,000 during the quarter to cover employee severance and termination costs. The firm said in early December that it would cut its staff by 30 percent. It expects further related charges in the first quarter of 2009.

For full-year 2008, Helicos brought in total revenues of $808,000 versus $582,000 the year before. Its net loss increased 24 percent to $45.7 million, or $2.10 per share, from $36.8 million, or $4.23 per share.

The firm's R&D expenses were nearly flat year over year at $24.6 million compared to $24.8 million in 2007, while its SG&A spending rose 41 percent to $20.1 million from $14.3 million.

Helicos finished the year with $19.8 million in cash. A large portion of that came from a private placement of its stock in December, which brought in around $17.8 million in net proceeds.

The firm said in the filing that its cash on hand and expected interest on invested cash balances "will be sufficient to fund our operations into the first quarter of 2010."

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