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United States > Industry focus > Healthcare: life sciences > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Healthcare: life sciences
  2. Leading lawyers

Covington & Burling LLP is a clear leader in the life sciences space and excels in all areas. This includes expertise in every facet of food and drug related regulations in the US and Europe, and, according to one client, it is ‘the best firm for FDA issues’. It also has growing capabilities in China. Richard Kingham and Ellen Flannery are highly recommended in the field of regulatory matters; Kingham and Jennifer Zachary are assisting PhRMA in a number of matters, including potential reforms of drug approval laws in China and India, and pending US FDA regulatory initiatives. The transactional team regularly acts on big-ticket deals; in 2015, James Snipes and special counsel Sarah Hoagland acted for AstraZeneca in a collaboration agreement with Valeant which granted an exclusive license for Valeant to develop and commercialize brodalumab on a worldwide basis. Group co-head John Hurvitz advises established and emerging life sciences companies, and counts Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as his clients. George Pappas is a Hatch-Waxman specialist, and a recent IP highlight for him was winning a patent trail for Warner Chilcott preserving $4bn in sales. The group also has notable experience in mass tort and product liability defense. Peter Safir, Timothy Hester, Christopher Sipes, Matthew O’Connor are highly recommended by clients. All individuals mentioned above are based in Washington DC.

Sidley Austin LLP is ‘ahead of most other firms in work related to life sciences’ and is relied upon by clients for its ‘high-quality, commercial advice’ and its ‘deep bench of knowledge and experience in healthcare regulatory issues’. The firm houses an excellent FDA practice that includes Washington DC-based Coleen Klasmeier and James Stansel and Chicago-based Meenakshi Datta, and it also provides deep expertise in cross-border regulatory matters. Diane McEnroe is assisting a global consumer products company in its interface with the FDA regarding a post approval safety concern, including reviewing the FDA’s authority to mandate a clinical trial post approval for an over-the-counter (OTC) product. A recent representative case for its litigation team was acting for Gilead Sciences, Hoffmann-La Roche and Genentech in Hatch-Waxman case against Natco Pharma concerning Tamiflu. The corporate group also had a fruitful year, advising the likes of Baxter International, Health Care REIT (now Welltower) and GlaxoSmithKline on joint ventures, sales and acquisitions. In another highlight, it acted as insurance, state pharmacy and healthcare regulatory counsel to Cigna in its pending $54.2bn sale to Anthem, which will create a company that is expected to cover 53 million medical members. The team is also highly active in capital markets transactions for life sciences issuers as well as product liability and patent litigation. Pran Jha is an ‘excellent deal lawyer’ who ‘understands the needs of clients’; David Pritikin, Raymond Bonner, William Sarraille, Patricia Thayer, Jeffrey Rothstein, Sharon Flanagan are also recommended. IP transactional practitioner Wenseng Wendy Pan and corporate partner Jennifer Fitchen joined the team in 2015 from O’Melveny & Myers LLP and Cooley LLP respectively.

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s life sciences team is a national powerhouse. It has dedicated life sciences capability in all of its US offices, and particular centers of excellence in New York for IP and corporate, Baltimore for corporate and litigation, Washington DC for regulatory, and California for cutting-edge developments in the sector. The highly recognized FDA regulatory practice fields a number of experienced partners, including David Fox, who, in addition to his Hatch-Waxman and biosimilar work, has particular expertise in the regulation of drug-device-biologic combination products. Leveraging its impressive global footprint, corporate partner Adam Golden led a multi-jurisdictional team in assisting Allergan with its agreement with Ironwood to co-promote the product eluxadoline in the US, and, in a separate matter, the team acted for Allergan in acquiring the rights to Ironwood’s linaclotide product in more than 40 countries outside the US. Golden and Adam Bellack led a cross-office team advising Novartis on the $29bn purchase of the remaining rights to an experimental autoimmune drug, ofatumumab, from GlaxoSmithKline. Silicon Valley-based corporate partner Laura Berezin is ‘a cut above the rest’, and is praised for the ‘depth and breadth of her legal knowledge and experience, combined with a thorough understanding of the life sciences industry’. Baltimore-based Asher Rubin, who co-heads the global life sciences practice, is also recommended.

Latham & Watkins LLP is the ‘gold standard’, according to one client, and is singled out for its market-leading work advising on the regulatory aspects of high-value capital markets and M&A transactions in the life sciences space. The strong FDA regulatory group also handles investigations and FDA approvals on a standalone basis. John Manthei has ‘an encyclopedic knowledge of the FDA regulations’ and ‘takes the time to become an expert on the product’; Stuart Kurlander, Benneville Haas and Alice Fisher (‘one of the best for white-collar defense in the healthcare sector’) are also names to note. The corporate team had a prolific year and further cemented its position in the market when it defended Allergan against an unsolicited takeover bid and then later assisted the company in its sale to ‘white knight’ buyer Actavis. It also acted for Receptos in its $7bn sale to Celgene. New York-based Daniel Brown is a prominent name to note in the IP field, and obtained a victory for Par Pharmaceuticals in an ANDA bench trial against Novartis in district court. Peter Handrinos and Cheston Larson, based in Boston and San Diego respectively, have notable experience in early-stage finance. Other key attorneys include Silicon Valley partners Alan Mendelson, Mark Roeder and licensing specialist Judith Hasko.

Ropes & Gray LLP has a high standing in the market, attracting praise for its ‘profound understanding of not just the substantive areas of law but also the industry and enforcement trends’. It also stands out for its ‘responsiveness and general client service’, which is ‘second to none’. The practice has a strong presence in the M&A space, acting for household pharmaceutical companies such as Shire, Cubist Pharmaceuticals and Allergan in complex cross-border deals; it also has capability in FDA enforcement matters. The Boston-based Marko Zatylny and Paul Kinsella advised Pfizer on its $17bn acquisition of Hospira, the leading provider of injectable drugs and infusion technologies and a worldwide leader in biosimilars. Mark Bellomy advised Pfizer on a collaborative agreement with Merck to develop and market an anti-PD-L1 antibody designed to treat various types of tumor. Steven Wilcox assisted Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, with its definitive agreement to divest its US license rights to the Nucynta franchise of products (and certain related assets) to Depomed. Marc Rubenstein and FDA regulatory specialist Gregory Levine head the practice from the firm’s Boston and Washington DC offices respectively. Within the team, Paul Kinsella and Joy Liu are also highly recommended.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP’s new merged life sciences group handles the full spectrum of transactional, litigation and regulatory matters from coast to coast, and has a deep bench of lawyers handling product liability and patent disputes on behalf of major pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Daniel Kracov and Allison Shuren are key figures, as is Jeffrey Handwerker, who has notable experience in pharmaceutical pricing and investigations, government contracts and commercial litigation; Handwerker’s recent highlights include leading a team in the successful representation of PhRMA in an amicus brief filed in support of Amarin Pharma’s free speech challenge to the FDA’s limits on off-label promotion. On the IP front, Ginger Dreger in San Francisco, and litigator Matthew Wolf and David Marsh (who is recommended for handling inter partes reviews) are key names to note. The above named lawyers are all from the legacy Arnold & Porter firm, and are based in Washington DC except where otherwise stated. Washington DC-based William Hoffman leads the 30-partner group from the legacy Kaye Scholer firm; there is also notable strength in New York, Silicon Valley, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Cooley LLP’s excellent reputation is founded on strong emerging company and venture capital capabilities, which sees it handling financing and licensing matters for clients in the biotechnology, therapeutics and medical device arenas. Palo Alto-based Barbara Kosacz heads the firm’s life sciences practice, and has particular expertise in complex partnering transactions and M&A. Boston-based Marc Recht acts for life sciences companies and investors in public and private transactions, including securities offering and M&A matters; representative clients include Eagle Pharmaceuticals, Regado Biosciences and FORMA Therapeutics. Regulatory and e-health specialist Andrew Gantt in Washington DC, Robert Jones in Palo Alto and Ivor Elrifi in New York are further names to note. Other active clients include Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Otsuka Pharmaceutical. The team also has notable personnel in San Diego and San Francisco.

Prominent player King & Spalding LLP draws praise for its ‘excellent’ regulatory and government enforcement practice. Within its highly recognized FDA and life sciences practice, Mark Brown, Seth Lundy and Christina Markus in Washington DC are the key names to note. Markus advised a pharmaceutical giant in responding to FDA’s proposed standards to govern the approval of generic competitors to a branded product. It also regularly acts for life sciences companies in securities offerings, and recently handled the IPOs of EndoChoice, Nivalis Therapeutics and Fremont. Litigation partners Andrew Bayman and Chilton Varner in Atlanta are recommended for their track records in product liability and mass tort defense. Geoffrey Leonard joined the San Francisco team from Ropes & Gray LLP in October 2015; Hatch-Waxman-focused patent litigator Michael Dougherty joined Hogan Lovells US LLP in January 2016.

The ‘absolutely outstanding’ team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is ‘very responsive to any questions raised’ and provides a ‘good assessment of the risks of possible outcomes’. Illustrating its strength in cutting-edge M&A deals, the team, led by the Princeton-based group co-head Randall Sunberg, assisted Merck with its global agreement with Pfizer to co-develop and co-commercialize an anti-PD-L1 antibody currently in development by Merck. In another matter, it advised Eli Lilly on its negotiation of a license agreement with, and related equity investment in, Ignyta. Recent highlights for its IP team include representing Pfizer in a patent infringement suit brought by AntiCancer, and acting for Allergan in two high-stakes Hatch-Waxman suits against leading generics manufacturers Mylan and Sandoz. Washington DC-based Howard Young is ‘exceptional’ and ‘always prompt to reply with an informed response’. Philadelphia-based fraud and abuse litigator John Dodds, Gerald Konkel and of counsel Tisha Schestopol in Washington DC, and IP specialists Richard de Bodo, Louis Beardell and Jason White in Washington DC, Philadelphia and Chicago respectively are also recommended.

DLA Piper LLP (US) has a high standing in the market and can leverage its impressive global footprint to advise major pharmaceutical companies on complex cross-border matters, with notable strength in patent and product liability litigation. In 2015, the team represented Pfizer in a number of product liability suits, and defended Olympus America, as well as associated companies and individual employees, in litigation arising from injuries and damages allegedly caused by the use of duodenoscopes manufactured by the client. In another highlight, San Diego-based global life sciences practice co-chair Lisa Haile and colleagues from the firm’s London office successfully represented International Stem Cell Corporation in its pursuit of European patent protection. The team has real strength in New York, as well as Washington DC, Boston and Baltimore, where litigator and practice co-chair John Dougherty is a name to note.

Singled out for its cross-border capabilities, Dechert LLP’s life sciences team, which is led by Washington DC-based corporate specialist David Schulman and Philadelphia-based George Gordon, handles corporate and IP counseling and transactions, and product liability litigation on behalf of a broad range of life sciences clients. Gordon focuses on antitrust litigation, counseling and government investigations, and regularly represents life science companies in disputes arising from licensing, collaboration, asset purchases and other agreements. Recent work for the team included advising AM-Pharma on the sale of a minority interest in the company to Pfizer and the grant of an exclusive option to Pfizer to acquire the remaining equity. It also advised Celgene International Sàrl, a subsidiary of Celgene Corporation, in its $450m strategic alliance with MedImmune, a subsidiary of AstraZeneca, to develop and commercialize an anti-PD-L1 inhibitor, MEDI4736, for hematologic malignancies. In another highlight, IP litigator Martin Black won a Hatch-Waxman judgment for Endo Pharmaceuticals against seven generics, protecting an estimated $2bn in sales.

A strong performer in product liability litigation, Dentons’ team is representing GlaxoSmithKline in a high-profile negligence case over warning labels on the generic version of its antidepressant Paxil, which allegedly failed to highlight increased suicide risks in adults. The IP team was boosted by the arrivals of San Diego-based Stephanie Seidman and Renzo Rocchegiani and Atlanta-based William Long as a result of the firm’s merger with McKenna Long & Aldridge in July 2015. Seidman and Robert Hanson are assisting pharmaceutical companies, and research universities and institutions on patent application drafting, worldwide portfolio management and inter partes re-examinations. Further illustrating its diverse life sciences practice, New Jersey-based venture technology specialist Jeffrey Baumel assisted Innocoll with its IPO of American depository shares on the NASDAQ. Litigator Peg Hall and Gadi Weinreich, in Dallas and Washington DC respectively, are also recommended.

Foley & Lardner LLP attracts praise for its experience in the field of IP, including patent prosecution, counseling and patent protection, and also regulatory issues. Within the sizeable team, Gabor Garai in Boston, regulatory specialist David Rosen in Washington DC, Antoinette Konski in Palo Alto and Richard Kaufman in San Diego are the main contacts. Washington DC-based Hatch-Waxman litigator Stephen Maebius acted as lead counsel in the successful defense of three inter partes reviews filed against a family of Orange Book-listed pharmaceutical patents. The group’s litigation capability was further strengthened by the August 2015 arrivals of litigators James Matthews and Katy Koski in Boston from K&L Gates.

Goodwin Procter LLP’s transactions-focused practice is supported by substantial IP capability, including strength in patent litigation and Hatch-Waxman cases. In a recent highlight, Emily Rapalino represented Cephalon in a number of Hatch-Waxman infringement cases and an inter partes review before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Demonstrating its transactional capabilities, Stuart Cable advised Centerview Partners in connection with AbbVie’s $21bn acquisition of Pharmacyclics and its flagship product Imbruvica, and he acted for Teva Pharmaceuticals in the $3.2bn acquisition of Auspex Pharmaceuticals. Mitchell Bloom and Kingsley Taft lead a mainly Boston-based group, although FDA practice chair Marc Heller and early-stage and IPO specialist Maggie Wong are based in Washington DC and San Francisco respectively.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP is praised for its ‘encyclopedic knowledge of the rules and regulations’ and its ‘practical understanding of the environment, broader political drivers and real business needs’, which allows it to ‘consistently deliver optimal and practical legal guidance’. The group is known for its expertise in reimbursement and compliance issues, as well as for IP litigation. It is also active in handling corporate transactions, and, in a recent example, a multi-jurisdictional team advised Innate Pharma on a $1.27bn partnership agreement with AstraZeneca. Byron Kalogerou chairs the practice from Boston. Elsewhere, Silicon Valley-based IP litigator William Gaede is recommended, and secured a significant success on behalf of Depomed in a Hatch-Waxman patent suit involving its flagship neuropathic pain product, Gralise. Paul Radensky is, according to one client, ‘the best access and reimbursement lawyer on the planet’, and Eric Gordon is ‘an incredibly strong fraud and abuse lawyer’.

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.’s life sciences team was bolstered by the arrival of 18 IP attorneys, including Peter Corless and IP litigators Kathleen Carr and David Conlin from Edwards Wildman Palmer in January 2015. It has a well-deserved reputation as a go-to firm for licensing and transactional matters, as well as an impressive track record in IPOs. Recent highlights included acting for Naurex in its acquisition by Allergan and in the ongoing clinical and research collaboration, and acting for BeiGene in the restructuring of its two collaborations with Merck. Jeffrey Weisen, William Whelan and Jonathan Kravetz head the practice from its Boston office, but it also has boots on the ground in New York, Washington DC, San Diego and San Francisco.

Reed Smith LLP combines a strong transactional practice with notable product liability defense and regulatory capabilities. The product liability team acted as trial counsel to GlaxoSmithKline in litigation involving Avandia, a prescription type 2 diabetes treatment; it also continues to serve as national counsel to GlaxoSmithKline in multi-plaintiff litigation in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania involving birth defects allegedly caused by thalidomide. Diane Frenier in Washington DC and Carol Loepere in Princeton head the practice. Also in Washington DC, Elizabeth Carder-Thompson is assisting clients with a range of regulatory matters, and, in California, Michael Sanders specializes in advising start-ups and emerging growth companies in the life sciences industry. Medtronic, Morphotek and Glaukos Corporation are also notable clients.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s life sciences corporate team had a robust year, advising on a number of high-profile M&A transactions. Highlights include acting for Hospira in its $17bn acquisition by Pfizer, advising Endo International on its $8.1bn acquisition of Par Pharmaceutical, and assisting Mexican drug company Rimsa with its $2.3bn acquisition by Teva Pharmaceuticals. The group also handles product liability defense and regulatory matters, and fields a number of regulatory attorneys in its Washington DC office, including Jennifer Bragg, John Bentovoglio and Jennifer Spaziano. New York-based competition specialist Clifford Aronson and IP lawyer Matthew Zisk are also names to note.

WilmerHale has a notable practice handling complex cross-border transactions and capital markets matters. Among its impressive deal flow in 2015, it advised Nabriva on its $106m IPO, assisted Epizyme with its extended collaboration with Celgene, advised Intercept Pharmaceuticals on its public offering of common stock, and represented Vedanta in a license agreement with Janssen Biotech. On the patent litigation front, Washington DC-based David Cavanaugh and Amy Wigmore successfully represented Permobil in two inter partes review proceedings before the PTAB; and Boston-based Michael Summersgill defended Hamilton Medical in a patent infringement case brought by Ventronics. Stuart Falber, senior counsel David Redlick, New York-based Steven Singer and Lia Der Marderosian are recommended, as is James Hill who joined its Los Angeles office from McDermott Will & Emery LLP in July 2015. All individuals named are based in Boston except where otherwise stated.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP distinguishes itself through its handling of big-ticket transactions and complex, bet-the-company IP litigation, but it also fields a robust regulatory team that includes Stephen Payne in Washington DC and Kevin Rosen in Los Angeles. San Francisco-based Ryan Murr’s recent works includes defending Depomed against $2bn hostile takeover attempt by Horizon Pharma, and advising Avanir on its $3.5bn sale to Otsuka Pharmaceutical. Also in Los Angeles, IP partner Wayne Barsky successfully represented Medtronic in a long-running patent infringement case against Medgraph, and is defending Blue Belt Technologies in patent infringement and business tort litigation which includes asserting infringement counterclaims. The practice is also active in product liability defense and is advising Pfizer in a high-value case.

The life sciences team at Morrison & Foerster LLP has notable strengths in patent prosecution, licensing and other transactional matters, and litigation, including product liability defense. Its client list features a number of industry leaders, including Gilead Sciences, Sanofi and Celgene. The group also assists Genentech on a wide range of patent matters and, in 2015, San Francisco-based practice head Michael Jacobs and Matthew Kreeger successfully represented the client in inter partes reviews targeting patents that protect Genentech’s blockbuster cancer therapeutic, Kadcyla. Showcasing its capability in the transactional space, it advised Catalyst BioSciences on its reverse merger with Targacept, and assisted Auris Surgical Robotics with its $150m series C financing. Catherine Polizzi in Palo Alto, David Doyle in San Diego and Van Ellis in Washington DC are also recommended.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP’s team advises a range of pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology companies, as well as investors in the life sciences sector. The practice has a solid IP litigation practice and a strong government investigations group. In a recent highlight, Michael Koon and Carol Poindexter acted on a putative nationwide class action on behalf of third-party payors alleging RICO and common law violations from the operation of GlaxoSmithKline co-pay assistance programs. Washington DC-based Frederick Robinson co-heads the global life sciences and healthcare practice, which enhanced its transactional capabilities with the arrival of Andres Liivak from Kaye Scholer LLP in May 2015 and, in July 2015, the arrival of former Sandoz general counsel Robin Adelstein. Liivak advised Novartis on a license, development and commercialization deal with XOMA in which Novartis acquired the global rights to XOMA’s anti-transforming growth factor-beta antibody program. Yvonne Puigcommunicates with clients effectively’ and is able to ‘effectively manage large, complex litigation’. All individuals are based in Austin unless otherwise stated.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s excellent reputation is built on its capabilities in big-ticket litigation and in handling cutting-edge deals and licensing partnerships. The firm advised WuXi PharmaTech on its acquisition of XenoBiotic Laboratories, and represented Novartis’ subsidiary, Alcon Laboratories, together with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation and Senju Pharmaceutical, in ANDA litigation relating to difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion 0.05%, sold under the trademark DUREZOL. On the IP litigation side, Lisa Pensabene represented AstraZeneca in four Hatch-Waxman patent infringement suits against generic pharmaceutical companies, including Sandoz, Mylan, Sagent and Glenmark; and Filko Prugo acted for Genzyme in an inter partes review involving marketed biologic medicines. Transactional partner Scott Elliott joined from Ropes & Gray LLP in September 2015 to co-head the firm’s life sciences practice.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s reputation in the life sciences sector stems from its status as a go-to firm for patent litigation and product liability defense. The team has been active in a variety of cases for major pharmaceutical companies and research institutes, and, in 2015, patent dispute specialist Edward Reines represented RainDance Technologies and the University of Chicago in a patent case against 10X Genomics filed in Delaware. On the transactional front, Richard Climan is acting for Raptor Pharmaceuticals in its acquisition of the exclusive global rights and assets to develop, manufacture and commercialize Quinsair from Tripex Pharmaceuticals. It also counts Eli Lily and AbbVie among its clients, and is assisting with a number of high-value acquisitions. The above named attorneys are all based in Silicon Valley, but the team also has strength in New York, where patent litigator Elizabeth Weiswasser, corporate partner Keith Flaum and licensing specialist Jeffrey Osterman are the key names.

The West Coast-based practice at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is particularly strong in advising on collaborations and in handling IP litigation. Douglas Carsten has obtained a number of victories in Hatch-Waxman patent litigation; Casey McGlynn is recommended for his expertise in relation to early-stage companies; and Kenneth Clark focuses on partnering and strategic transactions in the biotech field.

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