BioWorld International Correspondent

LONDON - The protracted demise of PPL Therapeutics plc reached a conclusion as shareholders agreed to accept 6.2 pence per share, valuing the company that brought Dolly the cloned sheep into the world at £7.35 million (US$13.5 million).

The payout will be funded from cash reserves, which stood at £4.8 million in December, and from £4.46 million raised from the sale of the assets of the Edinburgh-based company.

PPL will be delisted from the London Stock Exchange and become wholly owned by Innovation Development Ltd., a technology management company that now owns 1.8 percent of PPL. Subject to the deal going through, Innovation will make a loan of £950,000 to PPL to facilitate the deal.

An earlier offer of 5.5 pence per share was rejected by Metage Capital Ltd., owner of 20.6 percent of PPL, but Metage has accepted this offer, which is a premium of 37.8 percent to the closing price on June 3.

That is scant return for the £85 million that shareholders have invested in PPL, and a long way from the position early in 2000 when the share price reached a high of £2.17.

Chris Greig, PPL's chairman, said the offer gives shareholders "a higher financial value than would have been achieved under other proposals received," or "under the uncertain process of a member's voluntary liquidation." Greig, and the only other employee remaining, Chief Financial Officer Lindsay Dunsmuir, will leave the company.

The picked-over remains of PPL consist of intellectual property relating to Fibrin-1, a wound sealant, and a pilot manufacturing facility. It also owns intellectual property relating to the production of human proteins in the milk of transgenic animals, but expects to sell that before concluding the deal with Innovation.

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