Helicos Biosciences

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Helicos Biosciences
Nasdaq: HLCS
United States Edit this on Wikidata
Websitewww.helicosbio.com Edit this on Wikidata

Helicos BioSciences Corporation was a publicly traded life science company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts focused on genetic analysis technologies for the research, drug discovery and diagnostic markets. The firm's Helicos Genetic Analysis Platform was the first DNA-sequencing instrument to operate by imaging individual DNA molecules. In May 2010, the company announced a 50% layoff and a re-focusing on molecular diagnostics. After long financial troubles, in November 2010, Helicos was delisted from NASDAQ.[1]

Helicos was co-founded in 2003 by life science entrepreneur Stanley Lapidus, Stephen Quake, and Noubar Afeyan with investments from Atlas Venture, Flagship Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, MPM Capital, and Versant Ventures.

Helicos's technology images the extension of individual DNA molecules using a defined primer and individual fluorescently labeled nucleotides, which contain a "Virtual Terminator" preventing incorporation of multiple nucleotides per cycle. The "Virtual Terminator" technology was developed by Dr. Suhaib Siddiqi,[2] while at Helicos Biosciences.[3][4]

In the August 2009 issue of Nature Biotechnology, Dr. Stephen Quake, a professor of bioengineering at Stanford University and a co-founder of Helicos BioSciences, sequenced his own genome, using Single Molecule Sequencing for under $50,000 in reagents.[5]

On November 15, 2012, Helicos BioSciences filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[6]

The patents that Helicos had licensed from Cal Tech (where Quake was when he made the underlying inventions) were subsequently licensed to Direct Genomics, founded by Jiankui He, a former post-doc in Quake's lab who gained notoriety in November 2018 when he created the first germline genome-edited babies.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Helicos delisting notice sends shares falling". Boston Business Journal. April 2010. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  2. ^ "ZS Genetics Team". Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  3. ^ Bowers, Jayson; Mitchell, Judith; Beer, Eric; Buzby, Philip R.; Causey, Marie; Efcavitch, J William; Jarosz, Mirna; Krzymanska-Olejnik, Edyta; Kung, Li; Lipson, Doron; Lowman, Geoffrey M.; Marappan, Subramanian; McInerney, Peter; Platt, Adam; Roy, Atanu; Siddiqi, Suhaib M.; Steinmann, Kathleen; Thompson, John F. (2009). "Virtual terminator nucleotides for next-generation DNA sequencing". Nature Methods. 6 (8): 593–595. doi:10.1038/nmeth.1354. PMC 2719685. PMID 19620973.
  4. ^ "Helicos Virtual Terminators Patents Search Result". Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  5. ^ Daniel MacArthur (August 2009). "Helicos co-founder sequences own genome using single-molecule technology". Wired. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
  6. ^ "Helicos Filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Form 8-K for HELICOS BIOSCIENCES CORP". Yahoo Finance. November 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  7. ^ Coleman, Zach (November 27, 2018). "The businesses behind the doctor who manipulated baby DNA". Nikkei Asian Review.

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