Industry focus: Healthcare and life sciences in Belgium

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird's 'highly responsive and knowledgeable' life sciences and healthcare team handles the full range of contentious and non-contentious matters in the sector, including regulatory, corporate and commercial, competition and IP issues. Regulatory expert Marc Martens heads up the international industry practice group and has particular experience advising on advanced therapies, clinical trials and data exclusivity mandates. Counsel Nicolas Carbonnelle is another name to note for regulatory matters, while IP partner Jean-Christophe Troussel is highlighted for patent and trade mark issues and corporate partner Paul Hermant handles transactional work.

Practice head(s):

Marc Martens

Testimonials

Jean-Christophe Troussel and counsel Domien Op de Beeck provide particularly excellent support.

Key clients

Amgen

BBraun

Ablynx

Sandoz

Polpharma

Almirall

Chemo

Synthon

Hexal

Salutas Pharma

Teva

Zentiva

Cipla

Essenscia

Bio.be

Janssen Pharmaceutica

Johnson & Johnson

MaSTherCell

UCB

Louvain University

Adaptimmune

Precision for Medicine Group

European Respiratory Society

Grand Hôpital de Charleroi

Osivax

Work highlights

  • Representing Polpharma, Hexal and Cipla in data exclusivity litigation before the General Court of the European Union (Polpharma, Hexal) and national courts (Cipla).
  • Providing policy advice and support to sector organisations bio.be and pharma.be.
  • Advised Janssen on the regulatory aspects of its activities which involve human samples. This included assisting with its registration as a biobank in accordance with the latest changes made to the regulatory framework.

Crowell & Moring

The 'fantastic' pharmaceuticals and life sciences team at Crowell & Moring is strong in IP and regulatory matters; the group is particularly recognised for its litigation expertise, but also assists its impressive client roster with non-contentious and strategic commercial matters. Practice head Kristof Roox combines experience in patent, trade mark and copyright litigation with pharmaceuticals, medical device and biotech regulatory expertise, while Gunther Meyer handles IP litigation and non-contentious commercial matters in the pharmaceuticals and medical devices sectors. Counsel Jurgen Figys and associate Evelina Roegiers are key names to note for patent litigation and regulatory advice respectively; Roegiers' regulatory expertise spans product launches, clinical trials and advertising issues.

Practice head(s):

Kristof Roox

Testimonials

Kristof Roox, Gunther Meyer and associates have done a great job and it has been a pleasure working with them. They will certainly be the team I will turn to on subsequent matters.

They are very knowledgeable (both on the law and industry expertise), pick up the issues very quickly and give clear and concise advice that has always been easy to package up and pass on to the client. They are also commercial, available and very user-friendly.

Kristof Roox is a fantastic person and lawyer to work with.

Sean-Paul Brankin is a fantastic competition expert.

Key clients

Mylan

Sandoz

Novartis

Alcon Research Ltd

Exeltis

Synthon

Apotex

Eurogenerics

Stada Arzneimittel

Medicines for Europe

Accord Healthcare

European Medicines Verification Organisation asbl

Tereos Syral

EurimPharm Vertriebs GmbH

Teva

Effik Benelux NV

Hexal AG

Bausch & Lomb

Mithra Pharmaceuticals

Insud Pharma (formely Chemo Group)

Vias Institute

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Mylan and Sandoz in proceedings relating to the merits regarding the marketing of medicinal products containing tadalafil.
  • Represented Apotex, Sandoz and Mylan in a patent dispute with Merck Sharp & Dohme concerning a medicinal product used to lower cholesterol levels.
  • Advising Novartis on various parallel import issues.

HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER

IP boutique HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER is frequently instructed by pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical devices companies to advise on patent, trade mark and regulatory issues, and is particularly active in cross-border litigation. Practice head Liesbeth Weynants advises on the full range of IP matters, regulatory issues (including pricing reimbursements, clinical trials, advertising work and supply chain management), competition mandates and privacy and data protection work, while Benoît Strowel focuses on patent litigation. Other names to note include Carl De Meyer, who handles IP issues and competition mandates, and patent litigator Steven Cattoor.

Practice head(s):

Liesbeth Weynants

Key clients

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

Teva Pharma Belgium

Yeda Research and Development Company Ltd.  (Innovative)

Boehringer Ingelheim

Daiichi Sankyo

Pfizer

St. Jude Medical

Illumina

Sequenom

Novo Nordisk

Abbvie

Biocodex

Work highlights

  • Advised Yeda Research and Development Company (as patentee) and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and Teva Pharma Belgium (as exclusive licensee) on a range of patent, trade mark and regulatory issues; it acted for both on generic marketing authorisations for follow-on glatiramer acetate before the Council of State, and acted for Yeda in litigation against generics relating to various patents of Yeda’s glatiramer acetate patent family before the Brussels Courts.
  • Acted for Boehringer Ingelheim in patent litigation relating to one of its blockbusters, Spiriva.
  • Acted for Daiichi Sankyo in a parallel import case against PI Pharma, which intends to import generic Ranbaxy tablets from the Netherlands into Belgium and repackage these tablets using Daiichi Sankyo’s trade mark, Prareduct.

Van Bael & Bellis

Van Bael & Bellis' life sciences team attracts praise for its 'outstanding knowledge of the pharma industry' and 'great competition law expertise'. 'Outstanding expert in pharma law' Catherine Longeval focuses on regulatory and product liability litigation and has a breadth of expertise which spans the biotech, medical devices, cosmetics and food supplement industries; Longeval jointly leads the practice with Peter L’Ecluse, who combines regulatory, competition and IP expertise. Other names of note include senior counsel Michael Clancy who specialises in EU competition law.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Longeval; Peter L’Ecluse

Testimonials

They are fast in replying, understand my company’s needs, they do not overcomplicate things. The quality of work is of a high standard.’

They provide clear and pragmatic advice tailored to our needs and the level of detail required for briefing senior management.’

Catherine Longeval and David Hull in particular stand out for their business-friendly approach to providing advice.

Catherine Longheval advice is not only professional, but down to earth and very rational, which provides us stable ground for negotiations with our partners.

Catherine Longeval has been a dedicated co-counsel on matters requiring regulatory expertise for our life sciences clients, both pharmaceutical and medical device companies. I rely on Catherine for her substantive knowledge and her responsiveness.

Catherine Longeval is extremely competent is the area of pharmaceutical law.

Key clients

AbbVie

Amgen

AstraZeneca

Baxter

CSL Behring

Eisai

Elanco

Eli Lilly

Gedeon Richter

Gilead

GlaxoSmithKline

Grimaldi

Horus Pharma

Intercept

Mundipharma

Pfizer

Pharma.be

UCB

Vertex

Owens & Minor

Zoetis

Work highlights

  • Representing Xellia and Zoetis in Lundbeck, the landmark case on appeal before the EU Court of Justice involving ‘reverse-payment’ patent settlements in the pharmaceuticals sector.
  • Acting for a young girl suffering from a serious and rare disease in litigation against the producer of a medicinal product (Biomarin), which is not yet reimbursed in Belgium.

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP's life sciences group attracts praise for its 'breadth of expertise in EU pharmaceutical regulations' and its ability to 'rely on a strong network of offices across Europe as well as regulatory experts in the US'. IT and IP-focused partner Filip Van Elsen (who is particularly strong for digital medicine and connected health issues) and IP expert Geert Glas are based in Antwerp and Brussels respectively, and head up the team with counsel Eveline Van Keymeulen, who splits her time between Brussels and Paris.

Practice head(s):

Filip Van Elsen; Eveline Van Keymeulen; Geert Glas

Testimonials

Best team I ever worked with. They understood our issues and dived very deeply into our challenges.

Deep understanding of the industry. A&O is a pioneer in the cannabis sector in Europe.

Allen & Overy LLP, in particular counsel Eveline van Keymeulen and her colleagues, demonstrated excellence in a timely delivery of a very well presented legal and regulatory analysis of the framework regulating innovations in pharmaceutical development.

Eveline Van Keymeulen is one of the most hard-working and dedicated persons I had the chance to work with.

Eveline Van Keymeulen is brilliant and sharp. She can navigate hard legal issues but she can also make our industry and its challenges simple to understand when addressing a lay audience.

Eveline Van Keymeulen stands out with her excellent communication and listening skills, incomparable flexibility, genuine engagement and a can-do attitude. She demonstrated her skills in leading a large, complex project and in meeting and exceeding client expectations.

Key clients

Syngenta

Johnson & Johnson

Thrombogenics

European Seed Association

Biocartis

Bone Therapeutics

Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising Mithra Pharmaceuticals, which specialises in women’s health, on various contractual matters relating to its oral contraceptive and perimenopause products.
  • Acted for Green Organic Dutchman Holdings, a Canadian cannabis research and development company, on its $15.5m acquisition of HemPoland, a leading European manufacturer and marketer of premium organic CBD oils.
  • Assisting Syngenta, the leading agriculture company, with the legal and IP aspects of its digitalisation initiatives.

ALTIUS

ALTIUS handles a range of contentious and non-contentious issues in the life sciences and healthcare industry, and is particularly known for pharmaceuticals patent work. Practice head Christophe Ronse focuses predominantly on life sciences patents but also has regulatory expertise, while Philippe de Jong splits his time between IP and regulatory matters including work relating to patents, plant variety rights and parallel import issues.

Practice head(s):

Christophe Ronse

Key clients

Pixley Berries

Breeders Trust

MITSUI Global Investment

SES Vanderhave

Genentech

MSD (Merck Sharp & Dohme)

Novartis

Bayer Pharma

Icos Corporation

Gilead

Eli Lilly

Hoffmann – La Roche

Work highlights

  • Representing Swiss pharma company Roche and its US affiliate Genentech in patent litigation relating to a patent for the composition of trastuzumab (a monoclonal antibody), which is the active ingredient of its blockbuster product Herceptin used for the treatment of various cancers.
  • Advising Eli Lilly & Co in patent litigation against Fresenius relating to its patent for the second medical use of the active pemetrexed in combination with vitamin B12 for the treatment of certain cancers.
  • Successfully represented pharma company MSD in parallel import proceedings relating to its product Singulair.

Covington & Burling LLP

Jones Day

Jones Day fields a multidisciplinary life sciences and healthcare team on a range of corporate, regulatory, commercial, antitrust and contentious matters in the sector. The team is frequently instructed on cross-border work and benefits from the ability work closely with its international network. Practice head Cristiana Spontoni assists her client roster, which ranges from pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical devices companies to food and cosmetics manufacturers, trade associations, service providers and prominent research institutes, with a range of regulatory issues.

Practice head(s):

Cristiana Spontoni

Key clients

Abbott and Abbvie Inc.

Acelity Group

Arsenal Capital

Astellas Pharma

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc.

BioPontis

Cardinal Health, Inc.

Cellectis

Cibus

CVC Capital Partners

Elizabeth Arden

EMERAM Capital Partners

evolution of smooth (eos)

Fortino Capital Partners

GE Healthcare

Gritstone

Icon

Institut Pasteur

Koch Disruptive Industry

Mitsubishi Tanabe

Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD)

PPTA (Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association)

Procter & Gamble Company, The

Shiseido

Sterigenics

Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma

Work highlights

  • Advising BioMarin on a wide variety of regulatory, legal, and litigation matters, including national pricing and reimbursement issues, clinical trials, healthcare compliance work and data protection mandates.
  • Advised GE Healthcare on its acquisition of Rapidscan Pharma Solutions.
  • Advised Procter & Gamble on its €3.4bn acquisition of the worldwide consumer health business of Merck KGaA.

NautaDutilh

NautaDutilh's life sciences practice acts for a range of global companies, start-ups and spin-offs, professional associations and universities active across the pharmaceuticals, biotech, medical devices and health food sectors. The multidisciplinary team is jointly led by Florence Verhoestraete, who handles a range of transactional and contentious patent, trade secret, trade mark and unfair competition matters; and corporate partner Elke Janssens. Jens Mosselmans recently re-joined the firm from public law boutique Portico and focuses on public procurement issues and public contracts, while Christel Brion left the practice to Deloitte Legal.

Practice head(s):

Florence Verhoestraete; Elke Janssens

Testimonials

They have a pragmatic, no-nonsense approach, they are very flexible and not too expensive.’

Down to earth individuals. I never have the feeling that there is something I cannot ask.’

Corporate partner Philippe Remels is very competent, knowledgeable and responsive; he is experienced in handling complex cross-border transactions.

Work highlights

  • Representing GlaxoSmithKline in trade mark litigation relating to the validity of its purple trade mark, before the Brussels Court of Appeal.
  • Advised Novosanis on its acquisition by OraSure Technologies.
  • Assisted Nyxoah with its €5m equity fundraising, subscribed by Cochlear and existing shareholders.

Quinz

Quinz is a niche firm, which combines full-service capabilities with 'very flexible and profound knowledge of the healthcare and life sciences world'. It is instructed on a range of regulatory and compliance matters, corporate, commercial and financing transactions and disputes, and attracts praise for providing its clients, which include Johnson & Johnson, Bayer and Takeda, with 'practical advice with a sensible approach to managing risk'. The team is jointly led by 'zealous, sharp and no-nonsense lawyer' Olivier Van Obberghen and Pieter Wyckmans, who attracts praise for his understanding of 'the needs of a fast-paced biotech start-up'.

Practice head(s):

Olivier Van Obberghen; Pieter Wyckmans

Testimonials

The team is very well connected to several healthcare and life sciences organisations, and as a result they have developed a deep understanding of the business and the needs of their clients.

The Quinz team needs only very limited explanation in order to fully grasp the – often very difficult- project at hand. They have a very pragmatic, solution-focused approach while never over complicating things.

Their turn-around time is fast while still delivering the highest quality. It is obvious that they put the costumer first and are genuinely interested in the cases.

They cover all areas of expertise within the sector, from regulatory and compliance to IP and transactional life sciences work. Their resources seem endless.

Olivier Van Obberghen is very smart, hands-on, pragmatic with a can-do and will do attitude. He is personable, empathetic and provides good value for money.

Pieter Wyckmans is a very knowledgeable lawyer who clearly understands the business of life sciences and tech. His vast expertise in this area translates into solutions that require little and pretty-straightforward negotiations since they are never beyond the market standard.

Pieter is a poised, bright and pragmatic lawyer who has an eye for perfection and always manages to come with creative solutions.

Olivier is a zealous, sharp and no-nonsense lawyer who is clearly driven by a need to create added-value for the client.

What strikes me with Pieter Wyckmans, Olivier Van Obberghen and associate Michiel D’Herde is how knowledgeable they are, of course in law but also in other areas. They have this ability to grasp the technical aspects of a file but also understand the broader picture which I think is quite rare.

Key clients

Johnson & Johnson / Janssen Pharmaceutica NV

Bayer AG

UCB Pharma

Takeda

Sarepta Therapeutics Inc

Merck KGaA

Grünenthal Pharma GmbH &Co. KG

Eli Lilly

ISA Pharmaceuticals

Boehringer Ingelheim

AbbVie

PhysIOL

Federal Knowledge Centre

Recordati

Yesse Technologies

ObsEva

Hyloris

Avroxa

NousCom AG

Pharma.be

Work highlights

  • Assisted Roche with the establishment of an EU consortium with the aim to create a sustainable and tailorable platform for molecular imaging of immune cell dynamics utilising novel and diverse tracer strategies.
  • Advised Johnson & Johnson on the divestment of its anti-dandruff product Nizoral.
  • Assisted PhysIOL with the establishment of a strategic licensing agreement with a European research manufacturer to secure the licensing of important manufacturing know-how with the view to enhance the manufacturing efficiency of its products.

Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons is strong for regulatory, compliance and transactional IP instructions, and has experience in contentious pricing and reimbursement, public procurement and product liability issues. Olivier Mignolet, who has a breadth of experience in contentious and non-contentious matters, heads up the practice and counts Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline on his client roster. The team has also been particularly busy advising clients on medical devices, which is an area of expertise for counsel Annabelle Bruyndonckx; while managing associate Jérémie Doornaert is a key name to note for data protection work. The group also benefits from its ability to leverage its competition and corporate teams in Brussels and its wider international network.

Practice head(s):

Olivier Mignolet

Key clients

Align Technology

beMedTech

GlaxoSmithKline

Octapharma

Sanofi

Stibbe

With IP expertise and 'excellent knowledge of life sciences legislation', Stibbe provides the full range of regulatory, commercial and contentious advice to its roster of pharmaceuticals, medical device and healthcare company clients. The group, which also leverages the firm's full service offering, is jointly led by Ignace Vernimme, who advises on contentious and non-contentious regulatory and IP matters; and patent litigator Philippe Campolini, who recently joined the practice from Simont Braun. 'Knowledgable and efficient' of counsel Manuel Campolini is another key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Ignace Vernimme; Philippe Campolini

Testimonials

Very competent team, very knowledgeable.

Great team, easy to work with and always deliver on time.

Of counsel Manuel Campolini is an excellent individual, a gentleman and a very good support.

Elisabeth Matthys is efficient and spot-in in her advice.

Key clients

Teoxane

Mylan

Celltrion Mundipharma

Corden Pharma

Eurotec

Genmab

Perrigo

ORA

ANMI

Novasep

UZ Leuven

Armonea

UZ Ghent

Cliniques de l’Europe

CHU Saint-Pierre

Work highlights

  • Representing Mundipharma, a US global network of pharmaceutical companies, in second medical use patent litigation.
  • Representing Eurotec, a Dutch medical device company operating in Europe, in a dispute against the Belgian state for damages relating to the reclassification of its medical devices, which led to lower reimbursement levels.
  • Acting for Perrigo Company and Perrigo Ireland in an arbitration procedure for fraud and breach of warranties brought against the former owner of Omega Pharma Invest.

CMS

CMS' life sciences and healthcare team counts pharmaceuticals, medical device and biotech companies, hospitals, healthcare providers and public authorities on its broad client list.  The practice is particularly strong for public procurement work, a key area of expertise for Virginie Dor. Dor jointly leads the practice with technology expert Tom De Cordier, who frequently advises on data privacy mandates; and senior associate Bruno Fonteyn, who specialises in regulatory matters relating to hospitals, medical equipment, medical experiments and clinical trails.

Practice head(s):

Virginie Dor; Tom De Cordier; Bruno Fonteyn

Key clients

European Commission

Altersmoke

Aspen Pharma

Clinique Universitaire Saint Luc

Région de Bruxelles Capitale

Synlab

Celyad

Medi-Market

Hospital of Charleroi

Honeywell

Work highlights

  • Instructed to advise on the European Commission’s Euriphi project as part of a pan-European consortium, led by MedTech Europe. The project aims to assist the European Commission with its initiatives for ways of procuring medical devices.
  • Advising Belgian biotech company Celyad on a broad range of life sciences, tax and corporate finance matters, and corporate governance issues including gender equality and board assessment processes.
  • Assisted OraSure Technologies, leader in the medical device industry, with its acquisition of Novosanis.

DLA Piper

The multidisciplinary healthcare and life sciences practice at DLA Piper counts Merck, UCB Pharma and Takeda on its client roster, which it advises on regulatory, corporate, competition, employment and IP issues. Bertold Bär-Bouyssière, who focuses on competition law, heads up the practice, which also includes Eddy Lievens and Erwin Simons, who focus on employment and corporate law mandates respectively.

Practice head(s):

Bertold Bär-Bouyssière

Key clients

Abbott

Animals’ Angels

BASF Antwerpen NV

Baxter

Biominerals

Conmed

EURORDIS

Fresenius Kabi NV

Gilead

Global Health Investment Fund

Istar Medical SA

Merck KGaA

Mithra Pharmaceuticals

NGO GAVI

Lonza (formerly Capsugel)

UCB Pharma

Terumo Europe

Zoetis

Takeda

Shire

Vifor

Work highlights

  • Advising GAVI on competition and state aid law compliance matters.
  • Advised Takeda Pharmaceutical Company on its public takeover bid for TiGenix.
  • Assisting Vifor Pharma and its subsidiaries with combatting illegal parallel trade in the European Union.

Loyens & Loeff

The healthcare and life sciences group at Loyens & Loeff fields individuals from several practice groups and advises on employment, tax, regulatory, soft IP, public law and corporate matters. Employment and benefits specialist Filip Saelens heads up the team with senior associate Stéphanie De Smedt, who has particular expertise in privacy and data protection issues. Yves Van Couter retired.

Practice head(s):

Filip Saelens; Stéphanie De Smedt

Key clients

Allergan

International Team for Implantology

CordenPharma

Stop Darmkanker VZW

SERB

Cinven / Bain Capital

Arthrex

Bristol Myers Squibb Belgium

Teva

EU-IPFF

Work highlights

  • Instructed by CordenPharma to advise on a range of employment issues and litigation.
  • Advised a global medical device company on the launch of specialised medical software in Belgium and in the Netherlands.
  • Assisted Stop Darmkanker VZW, a Belgian non-profit organisation, with various GDPR-related matters.

Osborne Clarke

Osborne Clarke fields a multidisciplinary team, which advises clients, including Bone Therapeutics, Tigenix and Codema Pharma, on a range of corporate and commercial transactions and disputes. Led by corporate partner David Haex, the team includes Marie Canivet, who handles commercial matters and disputes; and recently promoted partner Hadrien Chef, who is particularly active in advising early stage companies on financing rounds.

Practice head(s):

David Haex

Key clients

Bone Therapeutics

OncoDNA

Bio-sourcing

Medi-Market

Coopervision

Zambon

Alain Affelou

Elixir Medical

Tigenix

Codema Pharma

Work highlights

  • Advised AuXin Surgery on its €4.2m series B financing, including an issuance of a convertible loan, the redrafting of its shareholder agreement and the implementation of a stock option plan.
  • Assisted Bone Therapeutics with its €1.7m issuance of bonds, redeemable for shares.
  • Represented Medi-Market in several disputes against Ordre des Pharmaciens, Association Pharmaceutique Belge and other competitors.