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Editorial

Praised as ‘one of the go-to firms for overall support’, Covington & Burling LLP has a client base that includes numerous large multinational pharmaceutical companies. It advises these clients on collaboration and diagnostic agreements, licenses (including out-license agreements), and obtaining exclusive rights to certain drugs. For example, on behalf of AstraZeneca, the team handled a collaboration agreement with Valeant to grant an exclusive license to develop and commercialize a treatment for psoriasis to be used worldwide. The keys partners in the group are Emily Leonard, Scott Danzis, Matthew O’Connor, John Hurvitz and Richard Kingham. Catherine Dargan and Jack Bodner are ‘super responsive, have strong expertise and are results driven.’ All individuals mentioned are Washington DC based, except Redwood Shores-based Leonard and New York-based Bodner.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s recent mandates include assisting Tenet Healthcare with a $2bn joint venture with a private equity firm that will create the largest operator of outpatient surgery centers in the US, with Tenet having the majority stake. John Williams in Orange County advised MGM Resorts on a joint venture with Hakkasan Group to form MGM Hakkasan Hospitality, and, for Virgin Group, the team advised on a joint venture with Bain Capital to provide equity financing to Virgin Cruises. Daniel Mummery in Palo Alto, Stephen Nordahl in New York, and William Peters in Los Angeles are co-chairs of the firm’s strategic sourcing and commercial transactions practice. Clients include Johnson & Johnson, Credit Suisse, Brown Brothers Harriman and Federal-Mogul.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s team has experience in joint ventures, strategic alliances, complex commercial licensing, and supply and distribution agreements, particularly in relation to technology, media and entertainment, and manufacturing. It is acting for the operator of China’s most popular social media network, Tencent, in its five-year digital partnership deal with the NBA to run live coverage and highlights on its mobile and web platforms. It also advised Tencent on a distribution agreement with HBO. Elsewhere, it advised Delphi Automotive on the sale of its international thermal division to Germany-based Mahle Group; the complex carve-out transaction included various IP licenses between the buyer and the seller. Silicon Valley-based Anthony Klein is the technology transactions and IT systems industry group chair. Century City-based Nancy Bruington works with production companies, mezzanine investors and financial institutions in motion picture and television financing and co-financing transactions, corporate finance transactions and the formation and capitalization of entertainment companies. Kenneth Deutsch has particular expertise in structuring complex financings and strategic joint venture arrangements, and negotiating production, financing and distribution deals.

Top-shelf firmWilmerHale has a ‘breadth of talent’ and receives praise for the ‘quality of work, timeliness, attention to detail, and practical business application’. It assists with a variety of licensing and other contracts. Belinda Juran ‘has an excellent practical perspective’ and chairs the technology transactions and licensing practice with Steven Barrett. Recent mandates include acting for 1366 Technologies on a manufacturing collaboration agreement with Tokuyama Corporation, a Tokyo-based chemical company. Under the agreement, 1366 will be developing new wafer technology for solar cells. Michael Bevilacqua handled the matter and is a key member of the team, as are Robert Finkel and Jeffrey Johnson. Juran advised Vedanta on a licensing agreement with Janssen Biotech to develop and commercialize a drug to treat IBD. All individuals mentioned are Boston based, aside from Finkel who is located in New York.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s six-partner team handles Stanford University’s technology work, and recently assisted with revamping its standard technology licensing forms in order to take on more complicated arrangements; it also provided strategic advice in negotiating existing arrangements. San Francisco-based James DeGraw is experienced in technology-focused M&A and is skilled in structuring complex and strategic technology relationships, including cross-border joint ventures, multifaceted business licensing transactions and outsourcing relationships.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP’s team is ‘extremely responsive, knowledgeable, reliable and efficient and the fees are exceptionally efficient’. Clients ‘can’t say enough good things’ about Carol Wolff, who ‘excels in every service area provided’. Recent mandates include acting as primary corporate counsel in preparing and negotiating company formation documents, funding agreements, joint venture agreements and providing regulatory and financing advice to the newly formed US Grid Company, which is developing microgrids in New York and other states. Boston-based Lewis Segall is the head of the team. Robert Condon was promoted to partner in January 2015.

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