National Cancer Institute Contract Extension Option Not Exercised, Says Asterand plc

Published: Sep 23, 2011

September 23, 2011 -- Asterand plc (“Asterand” or the “Group” – LSE: ATD) announces today that it has received notification from the National Cancer Institute (“NCI”) that NCI will not exercise extension options with its suppliers on The Cancer Genome Atlas contract (“TCGA”) as appropriate funds are not available. Therefore, the contract with Asterand is due to expire on 23 February 2012. The Company was also notified that it may apply to the NCI for a no cost contract extension to realise any unexpended funds beyond this expiration date.

In the announcement issued on 1 October 2010, the Company had stated that the TCGA project was worth up to $5.4m over 17 months, with an option to extend for up to $24.3m, over a five year term. As was mentioned in the Interim Results, Asterand has experienced inefficiencies in supplying against an increasing demand for highly annotated tissues. This situation is being addressed but may affect the Company’s ability to realise the full $5.4 million by February 2012. Therefore, the Company has applied for an extension of the current contract to allow expenditures beyond February 2012. Although the Company remains optimistic that an extension will be granted, this is not guaranteed.

Expected revenue for the TCGA through 2011 remains consistent with the guidance provided in the Company’s Interim Results issued 31 August 2011. As such, the Company does not expect any impact on the projections for the current financial year as a consequence of this notification.

Following on from the statements made in Asterand’s Interims Results announcement on 31 August, the Company confirms that there has been no further deterioration in trading and that it will provide shareholders with an update in the next few weeks. As also stated in the recent interims, Asterand is in discussions with a number of parties with a view to raising additional capital and expects to make a further announcement in due course.

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