EMA set for official move from London on 1 March


The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has officially taken over its new building in Amsterdam in preparation of its move to the Dutch capital from London.

EMA will leave its premises in London on 1 March and relocate to the Spark building in the Sloterdijk area of Amsterdam, its temporary location while a permanent home in the Zuidas business district is completed.

Between 4 and 8 March there will only be a skeleton staff at the site, and the agency will rely on teleworking to keep operating, focusing on priority activities including “the authorisation, maintenance and supervision of medicines,” as well as Brexit preparations.

The remainder of the workforce – now expected to be reduced by around 25% due to staff losses compared to earlier estimates of around 30% – will move into the Spark building during the following week. Prior to the decision to relocate to Amsterdam, the EMA employed around 890 people at its headquarters in Canary Wharf.

The EMA has also published a document explaining its key priorities for 2019, as it will not be able to operate at full capacity during the transition, although it has said drug evaluation activities shouldn’t be affected. Key activities will include maintaining the availability of medicines and antimicrobial resistance, strengthening pharmacovigilance, and supporting “patient focused innovation.”

EMA’s official address, which is the location of the permanent facility, is Domenico Scarlattilaan 6, 1083 HS Amsterdam,  but meetings and visits will take place for the time being at the Spark building, located at Orlyplein 24, 1043 DP Amsterdam.

Meanwhile, the Dutch government has said that hundreds of companies have been in contact about moving to the Netherlands as a result of Brexit, according to an article in the Independent. The news comes after tech giant Sony said it would relocate its European headquarters to Amsterdam from London.

A spokesman for the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) said the number of enquiries from UK businesses had risen from 80 at the start of 2017 to 150 a year ago and more than 250 at the last count. Other destinations said to be enjoying an increase in popularity among UK-based businesses are worried about the consequences of Brexit include Dublin, Paris, Luxembourg, and Frankfurt.

The pharma sector has also been affected. Last year, for example, AstraZeneca said it was suspending making any decision about its manufacturing investment plans until there is clarity on the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU after Brexit, while Steris plc said it plans to re-domicile to Ireland as a direct result of the decision to leave the EU.

24 January, 2019