Monash University says Mimotopes is not being evicted from its facility due to an “administrative oversight”.
The company, which is a leading provider of peptides for cancer research, says the oversight led Monash University to issue a 36-day eviction notice, giving it until 30 April to vacate the purpose-based facility.
The company says eviction, which it claimed was based on a clerical oversight, could result in it ceasing operations altogether.
However, in a statement, Monash University has rejected the company's claim.
According to the University, the company rejected numerous offers for a new lease going back to August last year.
"These offers committed Monash to spending significant capital funds on the building to bring it up to a compliant standard, as well as offering a rental that was significantly below market rates.
"Monash made these offers even though Mimotopes had failed to maintain the property to the point where the University has independent advice that suggests it will require approximately $2 million in capital investment from Monash to restore the building to a safe and compliant state for its occupants.
"Rather than negotiating with the University for a new lease, Mimotopes brought a claim against the University in the Federal Court, alleging that the University had acted unconscionably in its dealings with the company. Mimotopes failed to argue its case in Court, and withdrew the claim on the first day of the court hearing.
"In doing so, Mimotopes gave up the opportunity to have its claim tested in an appropriate, independent forum. It accepted the Court's order that it pay the University’s legal costs and undertook to the Court that it will not take further action against the University concerning its lease. Legal proceedings continue for Monash to recover those costs as well as recovering costs for urgent and essential works that the building requires.
"Under the previous lease, Mimotopes accepted responsibility for keeping the building in good repair and maintaining it to a safe standard. The University has independent expert advice that confirms Mimotopes has not done this.
"As to Mimotopes' failure to exercise the option on its former lease and claims that it is being evicted due to an administrative oversight, Mimotopes' own CEO wrote to the University in 2009 explicitly acknowledging it was always Mimotopes’ responsibility to exercise an option to renew a lease, not Monash’s obligation to inform them. Monash does not routinely advise its commercial tenants of the date for exercise of an option, nor does it have any legal obligation to do so."