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Monday, 25 March, 2002, 16:32 GMT
Losses increase at biotech firm
PPL Therapeutics, the firm that helped clone Dolly the sheep, has seen its finances sink deeper into the red.

PPL racked up pre-tax losses of 14.25m last year compared to a deficit of 12m the previous year.

Investors and analysts have been questioning whether it is possible to make money from its far-reaching advances in modern medical research.

PPL shares fell to a new low of 38p last week - a tenth of their value when Dolly became the world's first cloned sheep in 1996 - after it emerged that a key treatment for hereditary emphysema would not hit the market until 2007.

But the firm has stressed that its 25m cash pile, together with manufacturing revenues, will secure its survival for the next five years.

The biotech firm has said that it is taking steps to refocus its business on developing drugs from proteins and that it is looking at spinning off units such as using animal organs in human transplants.

In January, PPL announced the birth of five cloned piglets which have a gene "knocked out" to make them suitable for transplants into the human body.

See also:

04 Jan 02 | Business
Biotechs fight to win back investors
04 Jan 02 | Sci/Tech
Dolly's arthritis sparks cloning row
10 Sep 98 | Sci/Tech
How Dolly became a cash cow
25 Mar 02 | Sci/Tech
Doubts over 'pharming' technology
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