The new commissioner of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, Hilde van der Meer, was interviewed in the Nikkei newspaper during her visit to Japan in March 2023. The headline was “becoming the core of Europe with pharmaceuticals” and she outlines in the interview how multinational pharmaceutical companies have opened offices in the Netherlands since the European Medicines Agency moved to Amsterdam after Brexit.
We took a look at our database and can see that one Japanese pharmaceuticals company, JCR, has recently opened an office in the Netherlands. The other, larger, Japanese pharmaceuticals companies were already in the Netherlands long before the EMA move – such as Astellas, Takeda, Eisai, and Daiichi Sankyo. Chugai does not have operations there – its European HQ is still in the UK – but its parent company, Swiss pharmaceuticals company Roche, does have a subsidiary there. Otsuka opened a company in the Netherlands in 2018, which acts as a Marketing Authorization Holder for the EU and in the same year closed its Otsuka Europe Development and Commercialization operation in the UK. Shionogi also opened a subsidiary in the Netherlands in 2018, and the UK subsidiary became a branch of it at the same time, so this may also have been a result of the EMA move. Takeda UK also became a branch in 2018 – but more as a result of the acquisition of Shire, and a subsequent global reorganisation.
This does not seem to have had much impact on the 46 or so Japanese pharmaceuticals and healthcare companies in the UK, however, in terms of numbers employed. We estimate they were employing around 5,000 people in 2022, and this number has grown rather than shrunk since 2016, despite the closure of some smaller companies – Taisho, Anges, Kosei and Summit. Companies which have grown in the UK include Fujifilm Diosynth, now employing over 1,000 people and Eisai, compensating for those which have shrunk their UK presence.
The UK may have lost some influence, but in terms of scale, it is still substantial.
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