DUBLIN, Ireland ¿ Centocor Inc. is seeking almost 1.6 million shares of Trinity Biotech plc¿s stock as a redress for the Dublin-based company¿s alleged default on the payment of a US$2.5 million promissory note.

Trinity purchased Malvern, Pa.-based Centocor¿s U.K. infectious-diseases subsidiary in 1997 for US$5.5 million in cash and deferred loan notes. So far, according to Centocor, Trinity has paid US$580,385 of its outstanding debt. Its current claim on Trinity¿s stock, which it lodged in a Delaware court earlier this month, is based on the original purchase agreement. ¿It was all part of the contract,¿ a Centocor spokesman said.

Last week, Dublin-based Trinity countered that it would ¿vigorously defend and assert its rights with respect to this claim.¿ The disputed amount, according to a Trinity statement, is US$333,333, a sum that is fully provided for in its books. Trinity said it deducted this amount because of Centocor¿s failure to supply ¿certain reagents¿ as part of the agreement, but Centocor declined to comment on this assertion. Trinity Biotech is listed on the Nasdaq small-cap market, and is in the process of obtaining a secondary listing on the Dublin stock exchange. ¿ Cormac Sheridan