A few days ago, Denmark launched an official bid for Copenhagen to host the European Medicines Agency, which will have to leave London when the UK departs the European Union. 

There is a lot of competition about this prize, but Denmark is very well-positioned to win the bid.

The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims “a strong Danish tradition for safeguarding patient safety, an important research environment and a thriving and innovative pharmaceutical industry” as reasons why Denmark should host EMA post-Brexit.

These are good reasons. In particular, Denmark is home to the international  headquarters of successful pharmaceutical companies such as Novo Nordisk, Lundbeck, Leo Pharma, Genmab, and others.

But what makes Denmark such a compelling environment for EMA is the outstanding quality of Danish medical science and biotechnology that provides a very intriguing eco-system for biomedical research and development.

Denmark has received international recognition for the quality of its medical science and biotechnology.

Ten years in a row (except for 2010), and most recently in 2016, the prestigious journal Scientific American ranked Denmark in the global top three together with the USA and Singapore in its Worldview Scorecard in terms of biotechnology innovation. Denmark has in fact been global number one for six years in a row when it comes to "intensity", which Scientific American defines as: Publicly traded companies per capita; publicly traded company employees per capita; publicly traded company revenues per GDP; biotech patents per total patents; value added knowledge and technology intensive industries; and business expenditure on biotechnology R&D.

Scientific American states that "... Danish scientists perform a range of first-class research. Copenhagen-based Genmab contributed to a January 6, 2016, online article for The Lancet, which described a Phase II trial on the use of daratumumab for refractor multiple myeoloma, with this conclusion: “Daratumumab monotherapy showed encouraging efficacy in heavily pretreated and refractory patients with multiple myeoloma, with a favourable safety profile in this population of patients.”

Denmark is a wonderland for biomedical and biotechnology R&D. This is a result of many years of close collaboration across the biomedical industry, research foundations, universities and governmental institutions. This is a very fertile environment for high quality biomedical regulatory science and practice, which potentially will make a European Medicines Agency located in Copenhagen tremendously successful.  EMA will have access to a sophisticated and experienced talent pool of researchers and regulatory experts, and benefit from a culture that fosters excellent public-private collaboration.

A successful EMA in Copenhagen will be good not only for Denmark, but for biomedical innovation and patients across the entire European Union.

Held og lykke København!

Stig Albinus

Stig Albinus is a senior director in APCO Worldwide’s global health care practice. Read More