STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The Swedish government on Thursday launched a campaign to become the new host of the London-based European drugs agency after Britain's vote to leave the European Union and compete with offers from other EU members including Spain, France and Poland.
The tussle over the future location of nearly 900-strong European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to form part of complex political horse-trading around Brexit. Italy, Denmark and Ireland have also put themselves forward as hosts.
"With one of Europe's top national medicines agencies, an excellent climate for research and life science as well as good conditions for an efficient relocation, Sweden is a good future home for the EMA," Health Care Minister Gabriel Wikstrom said in a statement.
Having EMA headquartered in or near Stockholm would boost its drugs and life science sector, the government said. Sweden took a hit when AstraZeneca moved its headquarters to Britain but still has a cluster of medtech firms and the health sector has a vibrant start-up scene.
It already hosts the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), another argument for placing EMA in the country, the government said.
Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has previously expressed interest in EMA, but Thursday's launch of an active campaign is the first formal step and includes a secretariat tasked with planning and organising Sweden's candidacy.
Reporting by Daniel Dickson; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky