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5-Animals: PPL Therapeutics ends GE pharma sheep project

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TITLE:  Makers of Cloned Sheep End Drug Venture
SOURCE: Associated Press
DATE:   June 20, 2003

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Makers of Cloned Sheep End Drug Venture 

LONDON - The British company that created Dolly the cloned sheep said it is
ending a venture to make medicine from sheep's milk and laying off up to 90
percent of its workforce.

PPL Therapeutics, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, said Thursday it agreed with
its German partner, Bayer Biological Products, to suspend the project for
three years.

PPL said it would lay off 90 to 140 employees.

The job losses will affect staff at PPL's main administrative and research
facility at Roslin, south of Edinburgh, as well as a farm in New Zealand.

In a joint statement, the companies said "significant advances" had been
made in clinical trials of the experimental drug, called recombinant Alpha-1
Antitrypsin. The company planned to use milk from genetically modified sheep to
make the drug.

But the "resources required to move the project forward, combined with the
decision not to build a commercial purification facility because of the
financial risk, have led the companies to the decision to place the project on

Shares in PPL Therapeutics fell nearly 10 percent in Britain Thursday after
the announcement.

It was unclear what would happen to the flock of 4,000 sheep at the
company's farm in New Zealand.

PPL said it planned to focus on developing Fibrin I, a sealant that stops
bleeding during surgery. The company hopes to have the product on the market by

Bayer Biological Products, which is part of the worldwide operations of
Bayer HealthCare, said it would focus on increasing supplies of Prolastin,
another drug to treat lung disorders caused by a deficiency of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin
in the blood.

PPL shot to fame in 1997 after its scientists, working with counterparts at
the Roslin Institute, cloned Dolly as part of their research into ways of
making drugs more efficiently. It was the first successful clone of an adult

The company went on to produce a cloned cow and the world's first cloned



 Hartmut Meyer       
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