Helicos BioSciences Announces Collaboration with Children’s Oncology Group to Elucidate Genomic Signatures in Ewing’s Sarcoma

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–Helicos BioSciences (NASDAQ:HLCS – News), a life science company focused on innovative genetic analysis technologies, announced today that it has entered into a scientific collaboration with the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) in order to interrogate a wide spectrum of genomic variation within various sarcomas, an aggressive type of bone or soft tissue cancer usually found in children and young adults. New insight into molecular events occurring in primary and metastatic tumor states is critically important to identify new potential therapeutic targets and further improve patient outcomes.

The scientific collaboration is aimed at demonstrating the power and versatility of the Helicos True Single Molecule Sequencing (tSMS)™ technology to measure the DNA sequence, methylation state, and mRNA expression levels of normal, primary and metastatic cell states. The collaboration is multifaceted and involves a model system chosen by COG, which includes human biological samples collected from a single patient. These samples include a normal bone marrow sample and tumor cell lines derived from a Ewing’s sarcoma primary tumor biopsy and the metastasis from the same patient obtained after two cycles of chemotherapy. It is hoped that an in-depth comparison of genomic DNA sequence and RNA expression between the normal tissue, primary tumor, and treatment resistant metastasis will reveal structural and functional genomic changes associated with clinical aggressiveness and treatment resistance.

The collaboration includes a prestigious group of COG scientists, led by Dr. Greg Reaman, professor of pediatrics at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and chairman of COG, and Dr. Timothy Triche, chair of pathology at the Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles and vice chair of translational research at COG.

“COG, with grant support from the National Cancer Institute and Department of Defense, has embarked on a major effort to identify changes in the cancer genome of high risk childhood cancers like sarcoma,” said Dr. Triche. “We hope to exploit the next-generation capability of Helicos technology to identify rare mutations, polymorphisms, copy number variants, true whole-genome RNA transcriptional activity, and global methylation patterns to identify structural and functional alterations associated with aggressive and treatment-resistant childhood cancer.”

“Connecting molecular variations with cancer phenotypes and clinical outcomes in Ewing’s tumor samples has the potential to reveal new discoveries pertinent to disease diagnosis and treatment,” said Patrice Milos, vice president and chief scientific officer, who will lead the project at Helicos. “We hope to demonstrate the power of our technology to provide diverse analyses, including an unbiased view of the transcriptome, mutation detection and early work to investigate methylation differences, which offer to provide novel insight into patient states. We are privileged to be working with the stellar group of scientists assembled by COG.”

About Helicos BioSciences

Helicos BioSciences is a life science company focused on innovative genetic analysis technologies for the research, drug discovery, and diagnostic markets. Helicos’ proprietary True Single Molecule Sequencing, tSMS™, technology allows direct measurement of billions of strands of DNA enabling scientists to perform experiments and ask questions never before possible. Helicos is a recipient of the $1,000 genome grant and is committed to providing scientists the tools to unlock the era of genomic medicine. The company’s corporate headquarters are located at One Kendall Square, Building 700, Cambridge, MA 02139, and its telephone number is (617) 264-1800. For more information, please visit www.helicosbio.com.

About The Children’s Oncology Group (COG)

The Children’s Oncology Group is funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, is the world’s largest pediatric cancer research cooperative, comprised of more than 200 leading children’s hospitals, university hospitals and cancer centers throughout North America, collectively treating more than 90% of children with cancer. The COG includes more than 5,000 dedicated physicians, nurses, scientists, and experts in childhood cancer research and treatment, who are engaged in clinical trials, which set the standard of care, new drug discovery and development, translation of basic cancer biology into new therapeutic approaches, and studies of the environmental associations and genetic causes of childhood cancer. The efforts of the COG and its legacy groups are directly responsible for the improved rates of cure of childhood cancer.

Certain statements made in this press release that are not based on historical information are forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This press release contains express or implied forward-looking statements relating to, among other things, Helicos’ expectations concerning the outcome of the collaboration with Children’s Oncology Group discussed in this press release, the utility of Helicos’ tSMS technology in molecular diagnostics and management’s plans, objectives and strategies. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Helicos’ control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. In particular, the risks and uncertainties include, among other things, our ability to successfully complete the manufacturing process and commercialize the Helicos Genetic Analysis System; competition; changing technology and customer requirements; our ability to operate in an emerging market; market acceptance of our technology; our ability to retain our personnel and hire additional skilled personnel; our ability to manage our rapid growth and our ability to obtain capital when desired on favorable terms. Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. Helicos undertakes no obligation to update or revise the information contained in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise. For additional disclosure regarding these and other risks faced by Helicos, see the disclosure contained in Helicos’ public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

< | >