Encorium, the financially strapped US-based contract research organisation (CRO) heading towards liquidation if the planned sale of its European business goes through, is facing delisting from the Nasdaq stock exchange for the third time in less than six months.

The company received a Nasdaq Staff Deficiency Letter pointing out that its common stock had languished below the US$1.00 minimum per share requirement for continued inclusion on the exchange for a period of 30 consecutive business days.

Encorium was given 180 calendar days, until 15 March 2010, to regain compliance with the Nasdaq marketplace rules by maintaining a closing bid price of US$1.00 or above for a minimum of 10 consecutive business days. Failing that, the CRO will receive written confirmation from Nasdaq that its securities are subject to delisting, with the opportunity for an appeal or a further 180-day grace period.

Encorium said it was “considering appropriate business measures to address compliance with the continued listing standards” of the Nasdaq exchange but it warned: “However, no assurances can currently be given that the Company will able to satisfy the above described deficiency and that its common stock will not be delisted”.

At the end of August, Encorium was informed by Nasdaq that its stockholders’ equity did not comply with the minimum US$2.5 million equity requirement for continued listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market. And in April it was threatened with delisting for not delivering its Form 10-K annual report on schedule.

Encorium ran up operating losses of US$1.27 million in the second quarter of 2009, compared with a loss of US$665,443 for the same period last year.

The CRO has successfully sold off the bulk of its US business assets to Italian CRO Pierrel. The planned disposal of its wholly owned European subsidiary, Encorium Oy, to an unnamed “US-based clinical research organisation” is still under negotiation, with the expected completion date set back to the fourth quarter of this year.