Denmark has officially thrown its hat into the ring as a candidate to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) after it leaves London.
The Danish government wants the new home for the EU regulator and its 900 employees to be in Copenhagen, saying its capital city "offers the optimal conditions" for the agency. It is one of several EU member states - along with Spain, Sweden, Italy and Germany - that have been making noises about the new headquarters.
"There is no doubt that the competition is tough, but I am convinced that it will be valuable to … the EMA, Denmark and the EU to place the agency in Copenhagen," said the country's Minister for Foreign Affairs Anders Samuelsen.
The country has recruited a top-tier ambassador for the pitch in Lars Rebien Sørensen, the former chief executive of Danish big pharma group Novo Nordisk who stepped down at the beginning of the year. Sørensen will act as special envoy on behalf of the government to promote the Danish candidacy in the coming months.
In a new prospectus, Denmark points to its "commitment to patient safety, a world-class research environment, an ambitious and innovative life science cluster and a unique culture for collaboration between industry, universities and healthcare institutions," along with Copenhagen's "high liveability" with food, schools, public services and transport links.
Last year, the EMA confirmed the decision about its new home would be up to EU member states, which would have to arrive at a common agreement on the new location. The situation has created some anxiety within the pharmaceutical industry concerned about the potential disruption to the agency's operations that could ensue when it moves.
The Danish Medicines Agency has also voiced its support for the pitch, saying it intends to add more staff to its headcount of 400 to strengthen capacity, in recognition that the "UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency [MHRA] is currently contributing significantly to the scientific work at EMA".
The Danish agency is willing to take "more than a fair share of future assessments," according to its director general Thomas Senderovitz. "We are also making efforts to strengthen our capacity within scientific advice and biostatistics,” he added.