Battered Helicos BioSciences Corporation Files for Chapter 11
Battered by years of rough financial sledding and tough competition from rival next-generation sequencing companies, Helicos Biosciences filed Thursday for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In its filing (Case 12-19091) in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts, Helicos listed $15.478 million in liabilities and only $3.503 million in assets. On the day of its bankruptcy filing, Helicos sent notice to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it would be late in filing third-quarter results. “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,” Helicos stated in the notice. The Chapter 11 filing came about three months after Helicos last released quarterly results, which showed the company recording a Q2 loss of $459,000, an improvement over its $1.771 million loss for the second three months of 2011. Another brighter note was its cash and cash equivalents, which rose as of Aug. 9 to $2.1 million from $446,000 at the end of Q2. But Helicos’ second-quarter revenues plunged 29% from a year earlier, to $577,000 from $809,000 in Q2 2011: “The Company does not generate sufficient funds to operate its business. The Company continues to require significant additional capital on a month-to-month basis,” Helicos stated in its 10-Q filing with the SEC. Helicos sought to stem its financial bleeding with rounds of layoffs in 2010 and 2011 that eliminated a combined 66 positions, leaving it with 10 full- and part-time employees at the start of his year, and just eight at the start. While the company has long struggled financially, its troubles mounted in recent months. President and CEO Ivan Trifunovich resigned from those positions Sept. 14, two weeks after he resigned as executive chairman of Helicos' board of directors. Trifunovich served at the helm of Helicos less than two years, taking office in October 2010.