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Single molecule sequencing provides first amplification-free, unbiased view of a transcriptome

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jul 07, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Helicos BioSciences Corporation (NASDAQ: HLCS), a life science company focused on innovative genetic analysis technologies, today announced the publication of a landmark study in which single molecule sequencing was used to provide a digital expression profile of a eukaryotic transcriptome. The research article, now appearing in the on-line edition of Nature Biotechnology, demonstrates the unparalleled accuracy, precision and sensitivity of the Helicos™ Digital Gene Expression (DGE) application combined with the power of the Helicos™ Genetic Analysis System. The article will appear in the July 8, 2009 print issue of Nature Biotechnology.

The study consists of a high throughput, amplification-free and ligation-free approach to the accurate quantification of the yeast expressed genome using as few as one of the fifty channels of the HeliScope™ Single Molecule Sequencer.

"Scientists have long sought a simple and quantitative solution for globally interrogating the transcriptome," said Patrice Milos, PhD, the company's Chief Scientific Officer. "The data generated using Helicos DGE in our publication in Nature Biotechnology demonstrates an important solution."

Unlike other technologies that require complex sample preparation, which can drastically skew expression profiling results, the Helicos Genetic Analysis System provides the most direct view of a biological sample available today. Scientists at Helicos utilized the cellular, polyadenylated RNA from a simple cellular system, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, generated only first strand complementary DNA (cDNA) from that RNA, and, in a single step, modified the cDNA for analysis on the Helicos platform. Obtaining on average 12 million aligned reads per HeliScope channel, robust, accurate and highly reproducible measurements enabled a deep view of the yeast transcriptome. Further, sequence data provided information on unique transcripts, alternative transcription start sites and sequence variants present in these genomic samples.

"This publication represents another validation of Helicos's True Single Molecule Sequencing (tSMS)™ approach for providing our customers with unbiased genetic analysis tools to accurately study normal and disease biology," said Steve Lombardi, President of Helicos.

The company has also made DGE data sets available from human liver and brain samples on the HeliSphere™ Technology Center ( ), their open access Web site for sharing Helicos data sets and bioinformatics software tools.

About Helicos BioSciences:

Helicos BioSciences is a life science company focused on innovative genetic analysis technologies for the research, drug discovery, and diagnostic markets. Helicos' proprietary True Single Molecule Sequencing, tSMS™, technology allows direct measurement of billions of strands of DNA enabling scientists to perform experiments and ask questions never before possible. Helicos is a recipient of the $1,000 genome grant and committed to providing scientists the tools to unlock the era of genomic medicine. The company's corporate headquarters are located at One Kendall Square, Building 700, Cambridge, MA 02139, and its telephone number is (617) 264-1800. For more information, please visit

Certain statements made in this press release that are not based on historical information are forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This press release contains express or implied forward-looking statements relating to, among other things, the prospective commercial and scientific value of Helicos' publication in Nature Biotechnology discussed in this press release, and management's plans, objectives and strategies. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Helicos' control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. In particular, the risks and uncertainties include, among other things, our ability to successfully complete and/or scale the manufacturing and commercialization process for the Helicos Genetic Analysis System; our history of operating losses and ability to achieve profitability; our ability to sustain and scale our manufacturing capabilities; the research and development spending levels of academic, clinical and governmental research institutions and pharmaceutical, biotechnology and agriculture companies who may purchase our Helicos Genetic Analysis System; our reliance on third-party suppliers; competition; changing technology and customer requirements; our ability to operate in an emerging market; market acceptance of our technology; the length of our sales and implementation cycles; our dependence on large contracts for the sale and implementation of our Helicos Genetic Analysis System; failure of our technology and products; our ability to maintain customer relationships and contracts; ethical, legal and social concerns surrounding the use of genetic information; our ability to retain our personnel and hire additional skilled personnel; our ability to manage our growth while operating with limited resources; our ability to control our operating expenses; general economic and business conditions; our ability to obtain capital when desired on favorable terms; and the volatility of the market price of our common stock. Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. Helicos undertakes no obligation to update or revise the information contained in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise. For additional disclosure regarding these and other risks faced by Helicos, see the disclosure contained in Helicos' public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Investor Relations:

Helicos BioSciences Corporation
Susan Shepard, 617-264-1850