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08 / 02 / 2012 - Shock exposure of Royal Shares in `foetus research`
The Queen has sparked a furious row with pro-life groups by investing in a controversial bio-pharmaceutical firm carrying out experiments on aborted human foetuses.
Some £200,000 of her money has been ploughed into ReNeuron Holdings, which specialises in using human stem cells - the basic building blocks of the body - for medical and research purposes.
It also genetically engineers cells from foetuses and injects them into animals for research. The Queen's investment, carried out by Sir Michael Peat, Keeper of the Privy Purse has caused outrage among religious and pro-life groups. They are incensed that she helped to finance the firm by buying more than 102,000 shares at 195p a share when it floated on the Stock Market in November. The Queen's original stake is now worth nearly £213,000.
It is only days since the shocking report which confirmed that thousands of body parts were removed from children at Alder Hey hospital without parental consent, and that more than 105,000 body parts and foetuses were being stored in hospitals across Britain.
ReNeuron, which was set up in Guildford, Surrey, in 1997 and has publicly supported legislation allowing the cloning of human embryos, uses brain stem cells in its research into brain degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
But the practice has come under attack from groups such as the Roman Catholic Church and pro-life organisations.
Science labs which carry out experiments on human tissue are dependent on organs from hospitals and foetuses from abortion clinics. Foetuses up to 12 weeks old can be used for experiments.
Rabbi Chaim Rapaport, medical ethics adviser to Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, said: 'At 12 weeks old, a foetus is essentially a baby and we do not believe in using dead bodies for medical research.
'The idea of treating dead bodies as some sort of resource of tissue, sinew, blood and bone, strikes at the very core of the belief system of what the body is about.'
The man behind ReNeuron is flamboyant Dr Chris Evans, 43, whose biotechnology investment vehicle, Merlin Biosciences, owns more than 50 per cent of the company.
Evans has founded 17 firms, such as biotech companies Chiroscience and Celltech. Evans, worth £130million according to The Mail on Sunday's Rich Report, was knighted in the New Year's Honours List.
John Sinden, chief science officer at ReNeuron, confirmed that aborted foetuses up to 12 weeks old were being used. But 'very few' were needed, he said.
Foetuses are obtained from the London teaching hospitals, such as University College Hospital, and Guys and St Thomas's.
'People may take the view that using these materials is wrong, but we're generating something that will benefit lots of people,' said Mr Sinden who added that all foetuses used came with signed consent.
The Queen's investment is listed in the name of one of her most senior courtiers, The Keeper of the Privy Purse, and gives Buckingham Palace as the address.
Sir Michael Peat, who earns £150,000 a year and lives with his wife and four children in a luxury apartment in Kensington Palace, is a qualified accountant and was a partner at the City firm KPMG.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman refused to comment on the investment of the Queen's private income.
Source: Daily Mail