Strasbourg, Lyon join race to snatch EMA from London after Brexit

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - Officials from the cities of Strasbourg and Lyon are pressing France to wrest the European Medicines Agency (EMA) from London following Britain's vote to leave the European Union. The EMA approves medicines for all EU countries and employs 890 people including temporary staff. The regulator says it is awaiting guidance from Brussels on its future, but many pharmaceutical executives believe it will have to move once Britain triggers exit negotiations. Philippe Richert, president of Grand Est regional council in eastern France, urged President Francois Hollande in a July 1 letter to call for the EMA to be headquartered in Strasbourg. Meanwhile, European Parliament lawmaker Françoise Grossetete made a pitch for Lyon, citing the presence there of several pharmaceutical laboratories and companies such as Sanofi. Their bids come hot on the heels of Milan, whose Mayor Giuseppe Sala travelled to London this week to persuade the EMA and the European Banking Authority (EBA) to relocate to the capital of the Lombardy region. Madrid, Stockholm, Warsaw or Vienna are also in the race to grab one or other organisation in the knowledge that banks and drugmakers will want to maintain close ties with key regulators. Strasbourg is the official seat of the European Parliament but also homes the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Healthcare (EDQM) which is administered by the Council of Europe. (Reporting by Gilbert Reilhac; Writing by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Richard Lough)