Financially troubled PharmaNetics, which is locked in a dispute with pharmaceutical giant Aventis, has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission for an extension in filing its 2003 annual report.

PharmaNetics is already “conserving cash” and “winding down” its operations while preparing to sell intellectual property and other assets.

“As part of its year-end audit, the company is finalizing necessary reviews of its financial statements, including analysis involving the value of its long-lived assets,” PharmaNetics said in a statement issued on Tuesday night. It said the report should be filed by April 14.

PharmaNetics also said that “a decision is expected before the end of April” in the lawsuit it has filed against Aventis. The case is being heard in federal court in New Bern. N.C.

PharmaNetics (Nasdaq SmallCap: PHAR) has said in its suit that “breached its contractual obligations to co-market and co-label PharmaNetcis’ rapid bedside test” for cardiology cases. The test enabled doctors to monitor the effect drugs were having on patients being treated for heart attack, stroke, angina and embolisms.

The company has retained an outside firm, Davenport & Company, to look at PharmaNetics’ alternatives as an ongoing business.

PharmaNetics: www.pharmanetics.com