Troubled sequencing pioneer Helicos shelters in bankruptcy court

Delisted and largely dumped by investors after a pair of restructurings failed to cure what ailed it, Cambridge, MA-based Helicos BioSciences ($HLCS) has stepped into bankruptcy court seeking Chapter 11 protection for the genomic sequencing company.

The writing was on the wall for Helicos after a district court judge recently dismissed a patent-infringement lawsuit Helicos had brought against Illumina ($ILMN), the last of three big defendants little Helicos had originally gone after, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. Helicos listed more than $15 million in debt and only $3.5 million in assets.

"The board of directors of the company has determined that continued operation of the company outside of bankruptcy protection is not possible due to its lack of cash resources and no available funding options, and has authorized and directed management to proceed with the filing by the company of a voluntary petition for bankruptcy under the provisions of Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, which was made on November 15, 2012 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts as Case No. 12-19091," Helicos reported to the SEC late last week. The biotech says it delayed its quarterly report as a result.

Helicos had billed itself as a contender in the race to create the first technology that could sequence the human genome for $1,000, using its single-molecule sequencing technology. But it's been far outdistanced by much larger competitors that it sought, unsuccessfully, to take down in court.

Helicos shares were trading for a penny when the market opened this morning.

- here's the SEC bankruptcy notification
- here's the report from GEN

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