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Cloning division sold

THE COMPANY that created Dolly the sheep has completed its withdrawal from the cloning techniques for which it became famous.

PPL Therapeutics, based in Edinburgh, has agreed to spin-off its US-based regenerative medicine business - which undertakes research based on stem cells.

The unit will be sold to Regenecor Holdings, a new company formed by a joint venture which includes the University of Pittsburgh's medical centre.

In a statement, PPL said: "The board of PPL does not believe it is possible for PPL to be successful in developing both its core protein business and the regenerative medicine business within the financial and management resources currently available to it."

Previously, the company announced its decision to shut down its stem cell research programme in Scotland after failing to find a buyer.

PPL revealed its intention to sell its regenerative medicine cloning business last year after sinking millions of pounds into the project. The company worked within the Roslin Institute where the world famous sheep was cloned in 1996.

Chief executive Geoff Cook wants to concentrate on developing new protein treatments for lung disease and cystic fibrosis.

He said: "By spinning out this area of our business we have achieved an important milestone in the strategy put in place by PPL's new management team to focus the business on the development of protein based therapeutics."