A Medical Device Daily

Helicos BioSciences (Cambridge, Massachusetts) reported that it is the recipient of an award from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI; Bethesda, Maryland), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The two year grant, totaling $2.9 Million, is part of the Sequencing Technology Development Program representing NHGRI's Signature Project for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's effort to jumpstart the economy and create or save millions of jobs. This project, a part of NIH's "Grand Opportunities" program, is designed to support large-scale, high impact research projects that are expected to accelerate critical scientific breakthroughs and enable growth and investment in biomedical research and development.

"This grant will fund research on the chemistry and molecular biology underlying the Helicos System. We expect to make continuous improvements to the core technology that will increase throughput and accuracy of the System without any hardware changes," stated John Thompson, Principal Investigator for the grant. "We believe that lower cost sequencing will lead to a better understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying disease states, and ultimately aid in identifying new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent human disease. We see a future in which all scientists, physicians, and patients will be able to benefit from readily available human genome sequences."

The Helicos Genetic Analysis System is a commercially available, single molecule sequencing technology. It enables scientists to conduct studies in the fields of genome biology, cancer research, common diseases, and microbiology without DNA ligation or amplification. Genetic analysis with Helicos' technology eliminates the biases, complexity and errors introduced by nucleic acid amplification, requires minute amounts of starting material, and provides the most direct and accurate view of the genome.