Announces Near-Term System and Diagnostics Initiatives
Cambridge, MA - Nov 09, 2009 - Helicos BioSciences Corporation (NASDAQ: HLCS) today announced in its third quarter Form 10-Q filing that, as previously disclosed, the Company engaged Thomas Weisel Partners LLC (TWP), a nationally recognized investment bank, to assist the Company with its evaluation and execution of strategic alternatives. Based on the Company's improving standalone prospects and its current market valuation, the Board of Directors has decided to disengage from discussions involving a potential sale of the Company at the current time. The Company continues to work with TWP as a financial advisor in connection with its long term financing strategy.
Chief Executive Officer Ron Lowy commented: "We have had very positive feedback from our initial customers. In addition, we are seeing a growing number of novel discoveries resulting from the Helicos(R) Genetic Analysis System's unique capabilities and have seen an increased interest in clinical applications for which the Helicos system is uniquely suited. Not only do we have a significant lead in single molecule sequencing, but we also have established a first-mover advantage in diagnostics and biomarker discovery using single molecule sequencing technology. Our recent strategic dialogues have confirmed this."
Founder and Chairman Stan Lapidus, who also founded Cytyc Corporation and Exact Sciences Corporation, both of which were pioneers in the diagnostics space, will be giving an on-line symposium in the upcoming weeks on the future of sequencing in diagnostics. The Company will announce the date and time of this presentation which will be available on the Company's website (www.helicosbio.com). In September, Helicos announced its collaboration with Correlagen Diagnostics, Inc., a private company focused on developing biomarker and clinical diagnostic applications in multiple disease areas, including neurology, cardiology, immunology and metabolic disorders. Mr. Lapidus noted that, "Biomarker discovery and clinical utilization of single molecule sequencing is developing much faster than we had anticipated; the existing Helicos system, with its simple sample preparation, high throughput and lack of biases, typically seen with sample amplification, is well designed for this purpose."
In addition, the Company today announced that it has begun a series of planned developments for the Helicos(R) Genetic Analysis System. Mr. Lowy explained, "Now that the Helicos system has achieved a level of design and performance stability, we believe the cost of goods for the current Helicos system will be decreased through a series of meaningful cost reductions targeted at key system components. As we improve our cost of goods through these initiatives in the near-term and through the next twelve months, we will have the flexibility to address the initial cost of the platform for our customers. We also plan on introducing a series of alternative reagent kits for the Helicos system that are designed to provide customer flexibility, allow smaller numbers of samples and reduce the current runtime of the equipment by up to 70%. Helicos plans to start introducing these kits during the first half of 2010 for both our current and future installed base with no required changes to the system hardware."
"We currently estimate that with the improvements already incorporated in the System and several planned improvements to come, the price for sequencing a human genome using the Helicos system will be reduced by more than half its current level." Lowy added that: "We believe Helicos is at a critical value inflection point and that our first-mover advantage is meaningful. Our discussions with current customers and prospective strategic partners confirm this view."