The Cambridge, Mass.-based genetic sequencing equipment maker said it’s hired Thomas Weisel Partners to help with the “evaluation and execution of strategic alternatives.”
Helicos said it’s “actively engaged in discussions with multiple strategic parties.”
That’s not exactly news to watchers of the company, which was founded in 2003. In August Helicos disclosed its arrangement with the San Francisco-based investment bank, having just finished the quarter ended June 30 with only $8.4 million on hand. The company spent another $3.4 million by Aug. 14; through the first six months of 2009, Helicos generated $1.1 million in sales of the its sequencing system, billed as the world’s first DNA microscope. The sequencer uses fluidics and optics to process two flow cells simultaneously, performing strand synthesis and imaging at the same time.
In mid-September Helicos raised nearly $10 million through the sale of about 4.3 million shares of stock to a group of existing and new investors. Earlier this month it landed a two-year, $2.9 million grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute to fund improvements to the sequencing system.
Absent a lucrative new partnership or an outright sale, additional funding efforts are likely. The company has said it does not expect to turn a profit for another two years.
CEO Ronald Lowy said third-quarter orders for its device more than doubled the number of orders logged during the first six months of the year, driving the number of system installations from six to 11 during the three months ended Sept. 30.