PharmaNetics, which is involved in a lawsuit against drug giant Aventis, is going private.

The company said Tuesday that it had filed the appropriate SEC form to delist its stock.

“The Company’s principal reason for deregistration is to eliminate costs of operating as a public company and to preserve its remaining cash resources to continue its litigation against Aventis,” PharmaNetics said in a statement.

PharmaNetics stock (OTC Phar) closed at 24 cents on Tuesday. The price reached $1.75 in January — apparently in anticipation of a settlement of the suit – but dropped steadily over ensuing months.

PharmaNetics, which has basically shut down most operations to conserve remaining assets, filed suit against Aventis in U.S. District Court in 2003.

PharmaNetics said in its suit that Aventis “breached its contractual obligations to co-market and co-label PharmaNetics’ 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 test had been developed to determine whether patients could safely use an Aventis drug for heart patients.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported on May 11 that the judge in the case ruled against admission of a financial analyst opinion that PharmaNetics had lost “at least $138.8 million in sales” as a result of actions by Aventis.

In its statement, PharmaNetics said a full trial was expected to begin in June.