BioSciences Corporation (Helicos), a life science company, has sold four Helicos Genetic Analysis Systems to RIKEN Yokohama Institute Omics Science Center (OSC). The shipment is expected to begin in September but one system will remain in Cambridge to be used in a scientific collaboration between the two parties that began last year.

RIKEN’s OSC recently received funding from the Japanese government to assume the role of the country’s primary national DNA sequencing center. As part of RIKEN, the OSC has the unifying objective of developing a multi-purpose, large-scale analysis center to elucidate molecular networks in biological systems. A major component of the national project for the RIKEN OSC is the Cell Innovation Project, which is aimed at understanding cell function at the molecular level using next-generation and single-molecule sequencing technologies.

“Our relationship with the RIKEN OSC led by Dr. Hayashizaki and RIKEN’s commitment to purchase the Helicos systems demonstrates the value of Helicos technology to the scientific community,” explained Helicos President Steve Lombardi. “We’re proud to have such an institution as our first multi-system genome center customer. Their commitment is further validation of the scientific and commercial importance of single molecule sequencing.”

“The single-molecule sequencing platform developed by Helicos will help accelerate on-going progress in transcriptomics analysis at RIKEN’s OSC,” remarked Dr. Hayashizaki. “The Helicos system offers us the ability to make unbiased measurements of nucleic acids without amplification, to utilize very low starting amounts of nucleic acid, and to generate over 800 million sequences per run, providing accurate and precise measurements. These benefits of single-molecule sequencing to quantitative expression profiling, including measuring the activity of gene regulatory regions, will greatly expand our range of experimental approaches so that we can reveal more of the unknown biology of the genome to the scientific community.”