Any life sciences executive on the lookout for the right site in Europe – whether for a regional headquarters, shared service center, manufacturing or warehousing site, or R&D facility – needs to do their homework on available locations. But how have the pandemic and BEPS 2.0 changed the selection criteria?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been disastrous for many industries and communities. Its impact on the life sciences industry has, however, been muted. Fortunately, with initial fears over massive supply chain disruptions failing to materialize. Instead, with new vaccines being developed in record time and manufacturing capabilities being built up quickly, life sciences businesses have demonstrated great agility and resilience.
New opportunities in a new era
In a generally favorable business environment for life sciences projects, many companies felt emboldened to launch their first product alone rather than licensing to a large pharmaceutical group. The success of mRNA technology has meanwhile increased interest in Biologics, generating opportunities for contract manufacturers. And the EU has released significant funds to stimulate economic growth and strengthen the resilience of critical industries, including life sciences. All of these areas and more are explored in the fifth edition of our publication Site Selection for Life Sciences Companies in Europe.
As well as comparing and contrasting the business environment, infrastructure, innovation and R&D, and availability of talent for almost all countries in Europe, we identified three evolving key trends:
1. More industrial strategies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
The pandemic has led to a resurgence of industrial strategies, which had long been out of favor. State-led programs include the EU's Green Deal, which aims to transition national economies toward lower carbon emitting production. We expect these strategies to intensify competition among European countries to attract life sciences investments that are generally low-carbon emitting and bring high added value.
2. The continuing maturity of the Life Sciences industry
We see first-hand how companies looking to launch a product for the first time are starting to go it alone, without the help of big pharma. Financing has become easier to secure, a number of big pharma executives have been open to joining smaller biotech businesses, and there is no shortage of highly experienced advisers who can support businesses through the launch process.