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Short Reads: Apr 14, 2009

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SeqWright to Take Undisclosed Stake in LaserGen

Sequencing service provider SeqWright has signed a definitive agreement to make an undisclosed equity investment in LaserGen, a developer of reagents for next-generation sequencing. Both companies are based on Houston.

LaserGen said that SeqWright's decision to invest was prompted by LaserGen's plans to commercialize its reversible terminator chemistry, called Lightning Terminators, for next-generation sequencing applications (see In Sequence 3/3/2009)

The company said it plans to bring its Lightning Terminators to market as reagent kits as early as next year, and that it expects to form strategic partnerships with existing next-generation instrument manufacturers. SeqWright's investment and sequencing expertise will help the firm achieve that goal.


Helicos Updates Filing for Selling Shareholders

Helicos BioSciences filed a new preliminary prospectus with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last week for the sale of around 9.6 million shares by shareholders of the firm.

The filing updates a previous prospectus for the sale of 68.4 million common shares owned by shareholders who participated in the firm's private placement in December. At this time, Helicos is only registering 22.5 percent of the shares issued in the private placement. Helicos will receive none of the proceeds from the sale of the shares.

In the December placement, the firm raised gross proceeds of around $18.6 million from the sale of 42.8 million units to investors, which included Atlas Ventures, Flagship Ventures, Highland Capital, Versant Ventures, Stephens, Vision Capital Advisors, and Stephen Quake, a Stanford professor and co-founder of Helicos.

Each unit consisted of one common share and one warrant to purchase 0.6 of a share of common stock at an exercise price of $0.45 per share. The warrants have a five-year term and were exercisable immediately following closing of the transaction in December.

According to the most recent prospectus, approximately 14.9 percent of Helicos' outstanding common stock may be sold under the offering, and around 20.2 percent of the firm's common stock is eligible for resale by the selling shareholders.

Helicos also noted in the prospectus that the selling stockholders have the right to acquire up to nearly 25.7 million additional shares of common stock upon the exercise of warrants issued to them in the private placement.

The firm noted that as of Dec. 31, 2008, it held $19.7 million in cash, which it believes is sufficient to fund operations into the first quarter of 2010. Helicos said it expects that it needs to raise additional funds in or before Q1 of 2010.


GenoLogics Integrates Lab Software with ABI's SOLiD

GenoLogics and Life Technologies division Applied Biosystems have struck a partnership to integrate GenoLogics' lab and data management solution with the ABI SOLiD sequencing system.

The Victoria, BC-based informatics company said last week that it will configure its Geneus lab management system, which provides sample and workflow management and automates pipelines and enables reporting, for the next-generation ABI sequencing platform.

The company said that SOLiD customers will be able to speed up their sequencing results with a fully integrated lab and data management system.

The Scan

Not Yet a Permanent One

NPR says the lack of a permanent Food and Drug Administration commissioner has "flummoxed" public health officials.

Unfair Targeting

Technology Review writes that a new report says the US has been unfairly targeting Chinese and Chinese-American individuals in economic espionage cases.

Limited Rapid Testing

The New York Times wonders why rapid tests for COVID-19 are not widely available in the US.

Genome Research Papers on IPAFinder, Structural Variant Expression Effects, Single-Cell RNA-Seq Markers

In Genome Research this week: IPAFinder method to detect intronic polyadenylation, influence of structural variants on gene expression, and more.