- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 9, 2004

LONDON (AP) — PPL Therapeutics PLC, the British biotechnology company that created Dolly the cloned sheep, is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy after a last-ditch deal to make the company private fell through.

PPL, which has been struggling since losing support last year for major projects, had planned to delist from the London Stock Exchange and hand over ownership to its executive directors in a bid to stay afloat.

But the company said Monday that a key shareholder — thought to be London investment firm Metage Capital — declined to support the plan.

“Therefore, the independent committee has decided not to proceed with the proposal,” the company said.

Metage Capital, which holds more than 20 percent of the company, declined to comment yesterday.

PPL shot to fame in 1997 after its scientists, working with counterparts at Scotland’s 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 mammal.

Dolly died in February 2003 and is on display at a Scottish museum. She was euthanized at age 6, well short of her normal life span, after being diagnosed with progressive lung disease.

The Edinburgh-based company went on to produce a cloned cow and the world’s first cloned pigs.

But it ran into serious financial trouble last June when Germany’s Bayer Biological Products pulled out of a project to develop blood products from pigs to treat patients with lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis.

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