When the European Medicines Agency (EMA) headquarters relocates from London to Amsterdam in 2019, it will first move to a temporary spot with about half the size the regulator is used to. According to the agency, they anticipate that the reduction in space won’t affect their core functions, however meetings will have to be held in facilities off-site.
Since Amsterdam won the bid to host the EMA post-Brexit, many in the industry have been speculating about how the move will affect the European regulator’s ability to approve new drugs and carry out other vital functions. It’s now clear that the EMA will need to make two moves before getting settled in its new Amsterdam headquarters.
“For the offices, I think we have enough [space] with some less comfortable solutions. It is workable. The core business will be run inside the building,” said EMA executive director Guido Rasi, in a press conference about the relocation. “Even if these temporary premises are not ideal, they are the best option under the current time restrictions.”
According to Rasi, the need to move to a temporary site first will also increase the total cost of the relocation and potentially delay the EMA’s recovery of all activities. This was the second temporary location suggested by Dutch officials, as the first was deemed unsuitable by the regulator.
But concerns over the EMA’s temporary home aren’t the only thing the regulator needs to worry about. The EMA is bound to lose a not-insignificant percentage of its staff in the move from London to Amsterdam. While the regulator is optimistic that many staff members will be willing to relocate to the Netherlands, they’ll inevitably need to focus on hiring new individuals to maintain their level of activity.
The EMA employs 900 people, but the post-Brexit move will likely cause this number to decrease, at least temporarily.