Facing an exodus, EMA starts to line up temp replacements as top staffers jump ship

LONDON — Depending on whether the EMA ends up moving to Amsterdam or, well, someplace like Zagreb, the European drugs agency expects to lose anywhere from one fifth to virtually all of its staff when it leaves Canary Wharf in London.

In order to fill the gap, however large, it’s put out contracts for temporary workers with one of the largest “tender offers” of its kind for the EMA, reports the Financial Times.

Staff at the EMA has made it clear in internal surveys that many, and possibly most, of the agency’s workers won’t be pulling up stakes and following the agency camp as it migrates to a new home in the post-Brexit world, even as 18 member EU countries compete for the plum role to host the regulatory agency.

Guido Rasi, who runs the agency, says it’s clear that many aren’t waiting for the moving notice. He told the FT that 7 senior staffers at the EMA had left since Brexit was passed, an exodus unlike any he’s seen.

The EMA HQ is something of a mini UN for the biopharma world, attracting tens of thousands of scientists and company execs from around the world each year to weigh in on new drug applications for the European market. While not as likely to pay off as handsomely as a US approval, Europe nevertheless contains roughly the same kind of demographic profile in an affluent, single-payer world.

Wherever it lands, the EMA will remain a magnet for the industry.

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