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The Helicos System Produces Better Scientific Results with Less Sequencing Required

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 08, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Helicos BioSciences (Nasdaq:HLCS) was featured prominently at The Biology of Genomes meeting this week at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. At the meeting, Helicos scientists and their collaborators presented scientific results using the Helicos Genetic Analysis system describing novel views of genome structure and function, and the high productivity gains available from single molecule sequencing versus the competing next-gen platforms.

Three sets of Helicos data were presented at the annual Biology of Genomes meeting, a cornerstone scientific conference for the genome community. These data describe the value of single molecule sequencing from a scientific and an economic perspective:

1. Patrice Milos, PhD, the company's Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer and her team of scientists, in collaboration with Tom Gingeras, PhD, Professor and Head of Functional Genomics at Cold Spring Harbor, presented data on the analysis of small RNA species found in the human transcriptome. This study identified a novel class of RNAs which appear at the 3' end of genes. The study also compared the analysis of unamplified and amplified small RNAs. The results clearly show the quantitative distortion occurring in the amplified sample.

2. Chad Nusbaum, PhD, of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT presented data from studies done in collaboration with Nicholas Rhind, PhD, of the UMass Med School on the origins of replication in three yeast strains. Using a single HeliScope channel for each ~12MB yeast genome, the UMass/Broad group identified in-situ amplified genomic regions representing replication origins. The subtle amplifications found in the study required the fidelity of unbiased sequencing and quantitation, available only on a single molecule platform, to accurately record and identify them.

3. Gabor Marth, PhD, and colleagues from Boston College, a leading bioinformatics team for the 1000 genomes project, presented data on the analysis of human copy number variation (CNV). The study compared a leading next-gen sequencing platform to the Helicos SMS sequencing technology. The Helicos-derived data, representing 10-fold less sequence coverage than the competing platform, identified novel structural features and reduced the false positive signals.

These studies show the unique power of single molecule sequencing to elucidate important aspects of the biology of the genome. The scientific knowledge gained from them is representative of the realization that there is important biology found in accurate sequencing and quantitation of the DNA and RNA, a combination of benefits unique to single molecule sequencing technology.

Helicos data produced better results with much less sequencing required, providing further proof of the economic value of the Helicos system. Beyond the traditional measures of throughput and cost, the combination of the simple sample prep process of single molecule sequencing and these productivity findings creates a compelling case for the actual costs of doing complex genomic analysis.

These data, plus the recent news out of Stanford University that the first complete human genome was sequenced outside of a genome center on Helicos technology, makes a strong case that the future of genetic analysis rests on single molecule sequencing technology.

The data for these studies will be made available upon publication of the research by the authors. The Helicos-derived data will be posted on the HeliSphere™ Technology Center, the company's open access Web site for sharing Helicos datasets and bioinformatics software tools, in the near future as part of the company's ongoing efforts to provide the scientific community with the latest data on the performance improvements of the tSMS technology.

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 is 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.

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 value of the scientific results discussed in this press release that were presented at The Biology of Genomes meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 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