Helicos BioSciences Announces $40 Million Funding Round
Pioneer in High-Speed, High-Sensitivity Sequencing Receives Major Investment from Top-Tier Venture Capital Firms in Support of "true Single Molecule Sequencing" (tSMS(TM)) Technologies and Techniques
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–March 15, 2006–Helicos BioSciences, a pioneer in high-speed, high-sensitivity DNA sequencing, today announced that it has secured new investments totaling $40 million from a syndicate of top-tier venture capital firms, in support of the company's development of "true Single Molecule Sequencing" (tSMS(TM)) technologies and techniques.
The financing was provided by Helicos BioSciences' current investors, which include: Flagship Ventures, Atlas Ventures, Highland Capital, MPM Capital, and Versant Ventures. The latest funding follows an initial investment of $27 million by the same syndicate of investors, made at the company's founding in February 2004.
Noubar Afeyan, Managing Partner and CEO of Flagship Ventures, who serves as the Chairman of the Board for Helicos, said, "The potential of true Single Molecule Sequencing in DNA and RNA research is very promising, and holds intriguing possibilities in the industry. Helicos has been an innovator and leader in realizing the benefits of this compelling new technology in life sciences, and we are looking forward to the company's work making a serious impact on the market."
Stanley N. Lapidus, President and CEO of Helicos BioSciences, said, "Up to now, genetic researchers investigating DNA have been hampered and limited by tools and techniques that require amplification, as opposed to direct interrogation of the actual molecules themselves. This results in unacceptable data loss, sample preparation complexity, amplification biases, and errors which hamper accuracy and throughput."
He added, "True Single Molecule Sequencing shatters these limitations, and enables scientists to pursue their investigations via direct interrogation of the actual molecule via a simple, streamlined sample preparation protocol. tSMS(TM) will enable the sequencing of genomes in a day, as opposed to months or years. This will allow researchers to make tremendous leaps forward in fields such as oncology where genetic answers, up to this point, have remained elusive."
tSMS(TM) is a technique that enables researchers to rapidly and accurately sequence individual molecules of DNA and RNA. This allows direct interrogation of the single molecule as opposed to an amplified population of molecules. tSMS(TM) holds enormous potential for elucidating the gamut of genetic aberrations in oncology, through the ability to serve as a universal detection system across a wide variety of applications for both DNA and RNA. An example of some of the applications tSMS(TM) will enable are whole tumor resequencing, quantitative transcriptional profiling, genome-wide methylation studies, and candidate gene resequencing.
The advantages of tSMS(TM) over amplified molecule sequencing include: no PCR bias, no errors introduced by amplification, and no dephasing issues commonly present in amplified molecule sequencing. In addition, tSMS(TM) promises the highest possible throughput and enables reagent cost savings on the order of 1,000 times less than Sanger sequencing.
About Helicos BioSciences
Helicos BioSciences Corporation began operations in February 2004, after raising $27 million from a top-tier investment consortium. Helicos is developing instruments and reagents for the high-speed sequencing of DNA and RNA with the highest possible sensitivity. The Helicos technology, based on pioneering research of Dr. Stephen Quake of Stanford University, is covered by a broad portfolio of granted and filed patents. The company commenced early-access commercial and academic collaborations in 2006 and plans to launch its first commercial systems in 2007.
For more information, please visit our web site at www.helicosbio.com.
Mario Fante, 617-763-9887