BARD1 Life Sciences (ASX:BD1) shares have slipped, after news its two founders have sued the cancer diagnostics company over their performance rights.

Dr Irmgard Irminger-Finger and Tony Walker are the founders of BARD1AG, which was acquired by BARD1 Life Sciences in a reverse takeover in 2016. The company had been a Scandinavia-focused gold miner known as Eurogold.

Dr Irminger-Finger, an expert on the BARD1 gene, was the founding scientist of BARD1AG and continued as executive director and chief scientific officer of BARD1 Life Sciences.

She stepped down from BARD1 Life Sciences’ board last month, saying it was too difficult to contribute from her home in Geneva, Switzerland. At the time she said she intended to continue working for the company as a consultant, but that agreement was “recently terminated”, BARD1 said, without giving details.

Dr Irminger-Finger holds 3.6 million performance shares, and Walker holds 2.95 million, which convert into ordinary shares in the company if certain milestones related to the company’s lung cancer test are met by June 9.

But judging from its announcements, BARD1 seems more focused recently on developing its ovarian and breast cancer blood tests rather than its lung cancer test.

“The Statement of Claim alleges among other things that the Company was subject to obligations to do all things as were reasonably necessary to seek to have the Test satisfy the milestones by the expiry date and not to deprive the plaintiffs of the opportunity to have each of their Performance Shares convert into one ordinary share in the Company,” BARD1 said.

“The Statement of Claim further alleges that in breach of those obligations the plaintiffs have been deprived of that opportunity.”

Irmgard Irminger-Finger
Dr Irmgard Irminger-Finger

BARD1 said it wouldn’t be commenting further but intended to file a “comprehensive defence”.

Dr Irminger-Finger also owned 4.12 million BARD1 shares when she stepped down last month, according to ASX filings, giving her a 5.16 stake in the company.

Walker owned 1 million shares in the company as of November, the company’s annual report indicates.

As of 1.54pm, Bard1 shares were down 9.8 per cent to $2.86.