Ireland submitted its formal bid on 31 July 2017 for Dublin to become the future location of the European Medicines Agency (“EMA”) following Brexit. The new location must be decided by the heads of government of the Member States and 18 other cities have submitted bids to compete for the agency. The cities competing with Dublin are Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Bonn, Bratislava, Brussels, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Lille, Malta, Milan, Porto, Sofia, Stockholm, Vienna, Warsaw and Zagreb.

Introducing Dublin’s formal bid, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that:

“Dublin is a friendly, open, multicultural, cosmopolitan and modern city with excellent infrastructure, outstanding cultural facilities and first rate education institutions.”

Minister for Health, Simon Harris committed to increasing the capacity and resources of the Irish medicines regulator, the Health Products Regulatory Authority, to expand its work with the EMA and scale up its regulatory activities in order to assist in the smooth transition to Dublin.

The Irish Government has presented a choice of three high-quality buildings for the new location. The government has also pledged a financial package of €78 million over ten years to contribute towards fit-out, rent and maintenance of the new premises. They have also committed a comprehensive relocation support service worth €10 million for EMA staff and their families. The bid also emphasises Ireland’s strong life sciences and technology sectors and proven ability to attract and retain professionals, providing a rich talent pool for current and future recruitment by the EMA. In short, the Irish government is committed to making the transition from London as smooth and sustainable as possible for the EMA, its staff, industry stakeholders and the people of Europe. You can see Dublin’s full bid here.

In other news, the EMA has released a business continuity plan to deal with the implications of Brexit. The agency has temporarily suspended lower priority tasks such as the development of the European Medicines Web Portal. It also aims to scale back on audits and participation by its members in external meetings or conferences. Category 2, or the second highest priority tasks, such as the proactive publication of clinical data, will continue for as long as possible, depending on workload and staffing. This will allow the EMA to focus on the highest priority tasks related to the assessment and safety monitoring of medicinal products. The business continuity plan takes into account staff losses, including unexpected higher, faster or more permanent losses. This concern highlights the need for a smooth transition to the EMA’s new location in order to ensure the maximum retention of skilled staff.