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September 27, 1996 . PPL Therapeutics plc ("PPL"), one of the world's leaders in the transgenic production of human proteins for therapeutic and nutritional use and RPMS Technology Ltd ("RPMSt"), the technology transfer subsidiary of the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, have initiated a major joint programme in the field of xenotransplantation. The work will focus initially on heart transplants using transgenically modified pig organs.

The partners view their research plan as highly complementary, with PPL contributing its recognised expertise in production of novel transgenic animals, and RPMS providing research excellence and supporting facilities across a range of relevant areas to establish a multi-disciplinary programme.

PPL will invest at least ?.5 million in a portfolio of collaborative projects, within the RPMS Departments of Immunology and Surgery. The study areas will include molecular engineering of porcine cells to reduce the likelihood of organ rejection; methods to induce tolerance in the host human; plus generation of the transgenic animals and examination of transplanted organs in model systems.

The chronic shortage of donor organs for transplantation has led to serious exploration of the use of an animal species as a source. Such a source of organs 'on demand' could have a major impact in treating end stage kidney and heart failure, and offer hope to patients on steadily increasing waiting lists. Pigs are acknowledged as the most appropriate species, reflecting physiological, ethical and practical concerns. These studies will contribute information valuable to the development of novel therapeutic approaches in vascular diseases, in addition to advancing the potential for therapeutic xenotransplantation.

The programme is planned over three years, expanding to five, according to results, and includes option rights to PPL on intellectual property arising from the work, together with provision for RPMSt to receive royalties from products developed.

Dr Ron James, Managing Director of PPL Therapeutics said:

"We are convinced that this is the way forward to make effective transplant therapies available to the largest number of patients needing them. We believe the combination of PPL's experience in transgenics, with the Royal Postgraduate Medical School's broad immunological and surgical expertise will ensure the success of this exciting and ambitious project."


For further information please contact:

Dr Ron James, Managing Director

PPL Therapeutics plc


Edinburgh EH25 9PP

Telephone: +44 (0)131 440 4777

Fax: +44 (0)131 440 4888

Alistair Mckinnon-Musson

Square Mile Communications

11 Gough Square

London EC4A 3DE

Telephone: + 44 (0)171 583 4567

Fax: +44 (0)171 583 0060

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Last updated: 2004-01-13.

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