Troubled drugmaker aaiPharma ( AAIIE) has begun asking bondholders to approve the restructuring of corporate debt, giving them an April 16 deadline. The solicitation began last week.

Unless the company restructures its debt, creditors could declare the company in default, and aaiPharma might be forced to seek bankruptcy protection. The default could be triggered as early as April 30, when a $9.6 million interest payment -- whose initial deadline was April 1 -- comes due.

And in the latest in a series of recent setbacks, aaiPharma revealed that it received grand jury subpoenas on April 2 and April 6 for documents and potential testimony relating to 2002 and 2003 financial reports, sales of certain key products, corporate officers' public comments about the company's financial health, certain loans to the company and the "terms and conditions" of employment for some senior managers.

The subpoenas were issued by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. The company added that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of North Carolina has said aaiPharma may receive subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission. The grand jury requests were reported by aaiPharma on Friday, when the markets were closed, in a document filed with the SEC.

Of all of aaiPharma's troubles, the need for debt restructuring has vaulted to the top of the list. The company is seeking help from investors who hold $175 million in bonds, just over half of the company's total debt of $342.8 million as of Dec. 31. At year's end, aaiPharma had only $8.8 million in cash and shareholders' equity of $145.9 million, according to CIBC World Markets.

The company's financial woes have prompted a drastic drop in its stock; it is down almost 80% since touching a 52-week high of $31.85 on Jan. 21. On Monday, shares fell 55 cents, or 6.6%, to $7.02.

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