Glaxo may cut R&D spending

Sir Richard Sykes, chief executive of Glaxo, refused to guarantee to a House of Commons committee yesterday that research and development spending at a merged Glaxo Wellcome would continue at the 15 per cent of sales level that is a drugs industry median.

He told the cross-party Science and Technology committee that it was difficult to give a precise figure. But he said the merged company would continue to be driven by R&D and that it would spend what was necessary for its needs.

The investment in R&D has been one of the most aggressively argued issues since Glaxo launched its £9.4bn hostile bid for Wellcome late last month.

Sir Richard said Glaxo would spend £800m on research this year but it was difficult to do this in a dramatically changing drugs market place where leading companies had less than a 4 per cent market share.