MHRA to move HQ to same area as EMA’s London digs

MHRA's future head office at 10 South Colonnade--Courtesy of Canary Wharf Group

The United Kingdom’s drug regulator is moving its headquarters to within half a mile of the EMA’s current home. Staffers are set to move to their new digs in east London in the middle of next year, shortly before their peers at the EMA are scheduled to leave the city.

Management at the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) decided to make the move in response to the current lease running out and the opening up of space at a new civil service center. The move, news of which was broken by Pink Sheet and later confirmed to FierceBiotech by the agency, will take the MHRA to 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, a 25-year-old, 50,354-square-meter building that was selected as the location for the new Government Hub last year.  

MHRA employees will make up some of the 5,700 full and part-time civil servants who will work at the building by the time the move is completed toward the end of next year. The government is pushing civil servants from locations dispersed across central London to the hub to the east of the city to cut the cost of housing its workforce. 

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The move will make the MHRA a neighbor of the EMA, which is based less than half a mile away from the Government Hub. Until recently, such close proximity to the EMA would have been a strong draw for the MHRA, which carries out a lot of work for the European Union-wide regulator. But the Brexit referendum and subsequent triggering of Article 50 mean the EMA is likely to leave the U.K. by March 2019.

That means the period in which the MHRA will be a stone’s throw from the EMA will be brief. But the MHRA nonetheless thinks the move will meet more than just the needs of purse holders at the government. 

“It was important to us to secure modern new accommodation in a central London location, which we know is important to both our staff and our stakeholders,” a spokesperson for the MHRA said. The move is not expected to have any effect on staffing levels or the services the MHRA provides.

The MHRA last moved offices toward the end of 2010. That relocation moved the agency a mile or so across the River Thames from a location in Vauxhall to a site close to Victoria station. Now, the MHRA is set to move about seven miles east to a facility at Canary Wharf, the business district the EMA currently shares with many major banks.