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GEN News Highlights : Oct 4, 2006

Helicos’ New Grant Is a Move Toward the $1,000 Genome

NHGRI’s $2-M award will fund research of single molecule sequencing technology.
Helicos BioSciences received a $2-million grant from the NHGRI to accelerate the company’s efforts to sequence and characterize genomes across thousands of samples. The grant is part of the Institute’s “Revolutionary Genome Sequencing Technologies—The $1,000 Genome” research program.

“This grant allows us to accelerate our research efforts, which we believe will produce unprecedented sequencing performance on a platform that is easily scalable to large experiments, including the sequencing of whole genomes,”says Stan Lapidus, president and CEO.

The money will be used to further research on Helicos’ single molecule sequencing technology (tSMS™) for ultralow-cost resequencing applications and de novo sequencing of large genomes.

“Experiments which involve extensive coverage of the genome and require hundreds or thousands of samples to achieve significant results are simply not possible today,” explains Lapidus. “These important experiments, such as elucidating the full range of DNA alterations in cancer, define a no-man’s land in genomics. We believe our tSMS technology will enable investigators to navigate this nascent space.”

A key focus of this three-year grant will be on the development of methods that enable the full characterization of cancer genomes, says Helicos. The award will also focus on the development of novel methods of the tSMS assay and the production of sequencing data with very high accuracy at as low a cost as possible.