UPDATE 1-Immunicon files for bankruptcy, to sell assets to J&J

Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:13am EDT

(Recasts, adds details)

June 11 (Reuters) - Immunicon Corp IMMC.OB filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday and agreed to sell almost all of its assets to a Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) unit for $31 million, the companies said.

Immunicon sought protection from creditors with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware. It said it has $9.2 million of assets and $24.3 million of debts, according to the filing.

The assets to be bought include intellectual property, product inventory and clinical data, and technologies related to Immunicon's cancer test CellSearch, the companies said.

In March, Immunicon lost an arbitration with J&J unit Veridex in which the company alleged the unit did not devote "best efforts" to market CellSearch. Both have been partners for various products since 2000.

Following the decision, Immunicon said it would cut 40 percent of its full-time staff. In April, the company said it had retained Stifel, Nicolaus & Co to advise on strategic alternatives including a possible sale.

Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania-based Immunicon said net proceeds from the asset sale will first be used to pay creditors and any remaining proceeds will be distributed to stockholders of the company on a pro rata basis.

The deal is subject to approval by the bankruptcy court and is not expected to require anti-trust review or shareholder approval, Veridex said in a separate news release.

Immunicon shares lost more than half of their value and were at 13 cents in Bulletin Board morning trading, Reuters data show. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Varsha Tickoo in Bangalore; Editing by Deepak Kannan, Vinu Pilakkott)

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