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Brussels offers a secure alternative to London for UK pharmaceutical and life-sciences sector post-Brexit

The Brussels Capital Region launches a major campaign to attract UK-based businesses in pharmaceuticals and life sciences, which require EU base of operations following Brexit

With the UK set to leave the European Union in just a few weeks, the Brussels Capital Region is set to continue its initiative to attract UK-based businesses looking for a European base of operations post-Brexit.

The Region is holding an event on 19 March targeting the pharma and life sciences sector following the success of previous events covering finance and insurance as well as broadcast media.

Backed by the Brussels’ regional government, regional trade associations and industry bodies, the initiative aims to bring UK-based pharma and life sciences businesses to the Brussels Capital Region and help them secure the future of their European operations. The European Medicines Agency, one of the biggest EU regulators and one of the first casualties of Brexit closed its doors in the UK in January with the loss of 900 jobs. The EMA evaluates medicines throughout the EU but was forced to relocate because pharmaceuticals regulation must be done in a member state.

Cécile Jodogne, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade at the Region of Brussels, commented: “With increasing uncertainty on what the final relationship will look like, we have extended our programme of events with an additional one on 19 March 2019 focusing entirely on those British and international pharmaceutical and life sciences businesses looking for certainty. The only way to guarantee this is to establish a base of operations within the EU and, as the Brexit deadline bears down upon us, there are multiple reasons why businesses should act now to guarantee this presence in the EU.”

The entire life sciences ecosystem is supported by the Brussels Capital Region. Thanks to its long experience with the sector, the Region knows what companies need and want in order to achieve their ambitions, helping encourage further growth in the sector.

Cécile Jodogne continued: “Every year over 500 clinical trial applications are submitted by the biopharmaceutical industry in Belgium (12% of the European total). Applications are being processed and approved quickly before over 170,000 patients participate in phase 2 and 3 trials. This is especially important as getting recognition for your medicine or medical technology by one European agency, means it’s recognised across Europe.

“With a well-educated local workforce and very attractive conditions for foreign nationals moving to our region, as well as competitive house prices, a good education system and a cosmopolitan city centre, Brussels represents a fantastic option for both work and family life. Just two hours from London on the Eurostar, and well-connected to Europe and the rest of the world, Brussels is a prime location for British and any other businesses looking to maintain and grow their presence on the European and global stage,” Mrs Jodogne added.

The Brussels Capital Region has been organising a series of events at the Belgian Embassy in London designed to outline the attractions of the Region to UK-based businesses, covering the finance, life sciences and audio-visual sectors.

The last event was on 13 February 2019 at the Belgian Embassy in London and was aimed at the media, broadcast and creative industries. The next event on 19 March 2019 itself will give attendees a detailed insight into the Belgian capital, the benefits of being based both in London and Brussels, and an opportunity to meet industry trade bodies.

The campaign slogan is “The Future is close. Brussels is yours”.