May 8 Wellcome Trust, Britain's biggest medical
research foundation said it had "major concerns" about U.S. drug
major Pfizer's 63 billion pound offer for AstraZeneca
, the Financial Times reported.
In a private letter to UK chancellor of Exchequer George
Osborne, the trust raised doubts about Pfizer's commitment to
investment in Britain and said AstraZeneca was critical to
Britain's science base.
"Pfizer's past acquisitions of major pharmaceutical
companies have led to a substantial reduction in R&D activity,
which we are concerned could be replicated in this instance,"
Wellcome Trust Chairman Sir William Castell was quoted as saying
by the British newspaper.
Wellcome Trust became the latest in a series of vocal
opponents to the potential merger, which would create the
world's largest drugmaker.
Pfizer is said to be considering raising its offer after
AstraZeneca rejected its previous offer of $106 billion. The
value of that cash-and-stock offer has since slipped because of
a fall in Pfizer shares following weak quarterly results.
The deal faces political scrutiny as pressure builds on
Prime Minister David Cameron to protect Britain's jobs and
research base should it go through.
Wellcome Trust spends more than 750 million pounds a year on
biomedical research, according to the FT.
($1 = 0.5899 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Tasim Zahid in Bangalore; editing by Jane Baird)