Intense EMA campaign ends in chance: Amsterdam selected for HQ over Milan after a tie

European Union member states voted on Monday for the new location of the European Medicines Agency.

With all eyes fixed on Monday's vote for the European Medicines Agency relocation, Amsterdam emerged as the winner for the new headquarters ahead of other finalists Milan and Copenhagen.

Nineteen European Union member states submitted proposals for the EMA headquarters after Brexit forced the organization to relocate from London, and on Monday the states voted on the final location.

Reuters reports that Milan, Copenhagen and Amsterdam were the finalist cities after the first round of voting. But shortly after, the news service said Copenhagen was out of the running. It wasn't too long until the final round of voting ended in a draw, and Amsterdam was victorious in a drawing of lots, according to Regulatory Focus.

In a Monday statement, the agency said it intends to complete the move by March 2019. Even though a majority of staffers said they will be willing to move to Amsterdam, the regulator acknowledges operations will at least somewhat suffer from the relocation.

"Now that we finally know where our journey is taking us, we can take concrete actions for a successful move,” Executive Director Guido Rasi said in a statement. "… I am very grateful that the Member States took into account our requirements for business continuity and gave priority to the protection of public and animal health."

RELATED: EMA unveils staffers' preferences for agency move: Amsterdam gets a yes, Warsaw a no 

The race to win the agency has been intense, with cities and countries pitching their lifestyle, infrastructure and more in their bids to win EMA. In an employee survey ahead of the final vote, staffers said they prefer Barcelona, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Milan or Vienna over other options.

In fact, many said they wouldn't be moving with the agency if diplomats picked certain cities. The agency warned that it wouldn't be able to retain 30% of its employee base if the EMA moves to Athens, Bratislava, Bucharest, Helsinki, Malta, Sofia, Warsaw or Zagreb. Luckily for staffers and the agency, those choices didn't emerge as finalists Monday. 

RELATED: EU asked to think of patients in picking EMA site—oh, and schools and housing too 

The EMA headquarters will bring an agency that employs about 900 staffers and an estimated economic lift of €1 billion, while transforming the city into a global medical and pharmaceutical hub.