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7-Business: PPL dropped plans to build facility to handle GE milk

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TITLE:  PPL drops hi-tech drugs plant
SOURCE: The Guardian, UK, by Richard Wray,3604,945428,00.html
DATE:   Apr 29, 2003

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PPL drops hi-tech drugs plant

PPL Therapeutics, the company that cloned Dolly the sheep, has dropped
plans to build a 42m hi-tech facility in Scotland to produce drugs from
the milk of genetically modifed animals. The firm yesterday wrote off the
7.5m it has spent planning the plant, which was to be located next to
its site in Roslin, outside Edinburgh. "We are a relatively small biotech
company," said chief executive Geoff Cook, "and building the plant was
far too much risk to place on a company that size". As well as the 42m
cost, PPL estimated it would need 15m to have it validated by health
regulators. PPL is still committed to developing recAAT, an inhaler
treatment for genetic lung conditions and cystic fibrosis which uses
proteins drawn from the milk of genetically modified sheep. It hopes to
launch the product in 2007. The firm has been working for three years
with German drugs group Bayer on the treatment. Bayer had agreed to carry
out expensive clinical trials and marketing while PPL developed and made
it. The decision to abandon the plant in favour of contracting out
production means PPL has had to renegotiate that deal. The news came as
PPL - which has been selling non-core assets recently to focus on
proteins - announced annual losses of just over 20m after the 7.5m
writedown, compared with 14.2m in the previous year.