SWOT Analysis of the Stockholm Bid for the European Medicines Agency


Stockholm, which we identified at the start of the year as a serious contender to host the European Medicines Agency, remains in contention and has much to offer as the new home to the European body.

The combination of a highly regarded national agency, a stable political system and an excellent quality of life positions the Stockholm-Uppsala region favourably for the decision that will be made in the coming months.

The Swedish bid is being led by the dynamic Minister for Health and Social Affairs Gabriel Wikström. His department and bid team have consistently highlighted the top class educational facilities in the country as well as the reputation of the national competent authority.  Their bid can be explored further here.

The British newspaper, The Financial Times, recently covered the extensive criteria that will play a role in the decision on where to place the agency next.  Perhaps one of the key criteria, that will impact adversely on Sweden’s bid is the (seeming) preference for a country that heretofore has not hosted a European agency. Sweden, as the host of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, will, therefore, be seen to be at a disadvantage in the bidding stakes.  Nevertheless, the strength of its competent authority will play a pivotal role in its ability to compete and, possibly, win the bid.

Let’s take a look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with the bid.


As referenced already, the Swedish national competent authority is very highly regarded and it has played a significant role with the European Medicines Agency since the formation of the European agency.

The Stockholm-Uppsala region also hosts several world leading academic institutions and world-leading pharmaceutical and life science companies.

  • Astra AB
  • Astra Zeneca
  • Pharmacia
  • Recipharm
  • Diamyd

and countless others.


Again, as referenced in an earlier paragraph, the fact that the ECDC is housed in Sweden might play a part in the undoing of the bid.  However, it would be short-sighted of the decision-makers to discount this bid, and many other, for this reason when they can offer a viable home to such a large agency. As weaknesses go, we see this as a minor worry rather than a substantial issue.

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The Swedish government and the local authorities in the Stockholm-Uppsala region (led by Karin Björnsdotter Wanngård) as an opportunity to build upon earlier successes in the life science sector and to use the presence of the European regulator as a building block for new foreign direct investment in the area and the creation of new jobs.  In that respect, they do not differ from any other city that we have profiled to date.


There are few threats to speak of.  In that sense, Stockholm makes perfect sense as the seat of the regulator.  We made that point in the video below in January of 2017 at a time when the criteria for hosting was not known and the direction that Brexit would take was also unclear.

Here is what we were thinking at the start of the year about the EMA contenders.

This analysis is part of a wider series looking at the cities and regions seeking to host the EMA.  You can read the other SWOT reports here.

Brexit is having and will continue to have a significant impact on the life sciences sector.  We are consistently working with companies of all sizes to assist them in moving marketing authorisations, assigning a new EU Authorised Representatives for medical devices and much more.  As part of our Brexit related work, we have opened a new West London office to better serve companies seeking our assistance on Brexit related issues. Get in touch with us today if we can help you to navigate the maze of Brexit.