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Helicos Sells Four Instruments to Riken

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Helicos BioSciences today said that the Riken Yokohama Institute Omics Science Center has agreed to purchase four of the firm's Helicos Genetic Analysis Systems, marking the first time the firm has made a multisystem sale to a large genome center.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Helicos said that it expects to ship the instruments this month, with one of the systems remaining in Cambridge as part of a collaboration between the parties that began last year. That collaboration is focused on cell biology and methods to ultimately enable single-cell transcriptome analysis.

The "benefits of single-molecule sequencing to quantitative expression profiling, including measuring the activity of gene regulatory regions, will greatly expand our range of experimental approaches so that we can reveal more of the unknown biology of the genome to the scientific community," Riken OSC Director Yoshihide Hayashizaki said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Riken received $17 million in funding from the Japanese government to take on the role of that country's primary DNA sequencing center and expand its DNA sequencing infrastructure. A center spokesperson told GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication In Sequence at the time that it is "not focusing on any particular sequencing platform because we are expected to provide sequencing services on demand from the users." However, Hayashizaki had previously said that the center was considering acquire a Helicos system.

The center said earlier this year that it also had one Roche/454 Genome Sequencer FLX running Titanium chemistry, two Illumina Genome AnalyzerII systems, and two Applied Biosystems SOLiD 3 sequencers installed, in addition to three ABI 3730xl, one ABI 3100, and one Shimadzu DeNova Sanger sequencer.