Biotechnology in East Anglia

Goodwin

US firm Goodwin opened a Cambridge office in 2019, bringing the strength of a global life sciences practice to the region's innovation hub. The firm acts for private and public companies in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and healthcare industries, as well as for the leading life science venture capital and investment firms who invest in them, and in 2020 its market-leading work included advising Moderna on its proprietary mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccine. Established local partners Malcolm BatesDavid Mardle and Tim Worden, formerly of Taylor Wessing LLP's Cambridge office, are ably supported by counsel Elizabeth Rhodes and associate Talitha Shkopiak.

Practice head(s):

Malcolm Bates; David Mardle; Tim Worden

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth Rhodes; Talitha Shkopiak

Key clients

Moderna

Oxford Biomedica plc

Bone Therapeutics

Avacta Group plc

MiNA Therapeutics

Cycle Pharmaceuticals

Engitix

Evox Therapeutics

Kymab

Folium Food Science

Work highlights

  • Advised Moderna in connection with its proprietary mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine. In October 2020, Moderna reached an agreement with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan and Takeda Pharmaceutical to purchase and distribute 50 million doses of mRNA-1273, Moderna’s vaccine candidate against COVID-19.
  • Advised Evox Therapeutics Ltd on its £69.2m Series C fundraising led by Redmile Group who were joined by new investors OrbiMed and Invus.
  • Advised Kymab on its agreement under which Sanofi will acquire Kymab for an upfront payment of approximately $1.1 billion and up to $350 million upon achievement of certain milestones.

Taylor Wessing LLP

Taylor Wessing LLP has one of the largest specialist biotechnology teams in Europe, including a strong team in Cambridge, which supports global biotech companies at all stages of their lifecycle. As well as acting as counsel to both established pharmaceutical companies, among them Pfizer, the firm also assists early-stage companies such as Orexia and UltraHuman with their development. Tasmina Goraya is the lead partner in Cambridge and a core member of the firmwide life sciences group. Life sciences growth and commercialisation partner Colin McCall, who is 'an excellent communicator, very personable', specialises in advising life sciences and medtech clients. Partners Adrian Toutoungi, who joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in 2020, and Ross McNaughton, who joined from Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP, are key additions to the practice, bringing vast experience in IP and corporate life sciences transactions.

Other key lawyers:

Tasmina Goraya; Colin McCall; Adrian Toutoungi; Ross McNaughton

Testimonials

‘What I look for in a legal adviser is deep domain expertise, in this case the law, and the specific sector focus: biotech. The Taylor Wessing team has shown that it clearly possesses all of this and what is more they layer it with strategic thinking and nous, which is also hugely important especially in order to structure the best contracts and agreements.’

‘Colin McCall has been exceptionally responsive to our needs, even responding at times when he is supposed to be on a break. The rest of his team have always been very helpful and attentive as well.’

‘We worked with several teams at Taylor Wessing. As a start-up company, it was important for us to have access to an expert team of lawyers but with the constraint of limited funding. The partners at Taylor Wessing were able to offer a highly start-up friendly arrangement to overcome this challenge.’

‘We worked with Colin McCall for a lengthy in-licensing negotiation which was crucial for the company. Due to his deep subject-level expertise in life sciences, Colin was able to offer very helpful solutions during the negotiation process.’

‘The team has provided cost-effective legal support on several licensing transactions. They have been prepared to work within an agreed budget, which is particularly useful for early stage companies with limited cash.’

‘Colin McCall has provided excellent service – he makes sure to understand the client’s needs and reliably delivers high-quality work within the agreed timelines and budgets. He is an excellent communicator, very personable and a pleasure to deal with. ’

‘A strong team supporting contentious IP matters and supply relationships. Team members actively follow the company’s published activities which means they understand what is important for us and can provide a tailored approach. The team is highly engaged, responsive and communicative.’

‘One of the strengths of Taylor Wessing is their strong brand recognition and reputation in the life sciences sector. Having Taylor Wessing represent us immediately provided a certain level of credibility for our new spinout venture.’

‘The two excellent partners we worked with are Colin McCall and Ross McNaughton. In addition to providing exceptional legal advice, this team made themselves available to us around the clock and on weekends. Being a new startup, and having negotiated a capped fee due to our stage and funding, we did not anticipate anything close to this level of commitment, especially knowing the size and level of other deals they had on their plate. We are very excited they will be along for the ride as part of the family as we grow and scale our company.’

Key clients

Pfizer

Start Codon cohort companies

Mylan

Apotex

Oxford Biomedica

TranSINE Therapeutics

Exvastat

Nuclera Nucleics

F-Star

Macomics

My Personal Therapeutics

SciBite

Ultrahuman

Apcintex

Morphogen-IX

Colorifix

Oppilan / Zomagen

Semarion

Drishti Discoveries

Spirea

Zygosity

Mu Genomics

Tagomics

Spliceor

Work highlights

  • Advised HM Treasury on the set up of the government’s flagship Future Fund in support of early stage VC backed life sciences and technology businesses, and as a result assisted numerous companies in the biotech space in relation to their taking investment through the Future Fund.
  • Preferred partner to Start Codon, a Cambridge-based life science focused accelerator backed by Cambridge Innovation Capital; appointed as the recommended law firm for its cohort companies.
  • Advised the shareholders of SciBite, a life sciences focused semantic AI company headquartered in Cambridge, to the global research publishing and information analytics provider, Elsevier, part of the RELX group.

Mills & Reeve LLP

The life sciences practice at Mills & Reeve LLP spans all of the firm's offices but is led from Cambridge by James Fry, who specialises in advising on intellectual property issues and complex commercial contracting. The practice brings together expertise in corporate transactions; patents, IP, privacy, regulation, litigation and real estate matters to handle complex matters for global organisations such as GlaxoSmithKline, as well as high-growth companies, universities, medical charities and research institutions.

Practice head(s):

James Fry

Key clients

ALK Abello

Diurnal Group

Sphere Fluidics

Alere

Calypso Biotech

F-star Therapeutics

MD Orthopaedics

GlaxoSmithKline

University of Exeter

The Binding Site Group

IQ Capital Partners LP

Autolus

ADC Biotechnology

Iontas

L.D. Collins & Co.

Kinomica

National Institute for Biological Standards and Control

Achilles Therapeutics

Wren Therapeutics

Charnwood Molecular

Work highlights

  • Advised Diurnal on the out-licensing of its first drug candidate (Alkindi) to Eton Pharmaceuticals for US markets. This is a significant transaction for Diurnal, giving it access to the largest pharmaceutical market.
  • Acted for F-star Therapeutics on its successful reverse merger with NASDAQ-listed Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals.
  • Assisted The Binding Site on a major in-licence of patented technology and know-how from Californian biotech OncoTracker, Inc. relating to the use of sBCMA as a biomarker for blood cancers. The transaction was complex involving detailed IP and regulatory matters.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

The Cambridge office of Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP works closely with the team in Oxford to leverage its sectoral knowledge to assist more than 90 clients in the therapeutics, medical devices, agriculture and veterinary sectors. Cambridge-based practice co-head Rachel Bradley has significant in-house experience at a pharmaceutical company and now acts for high-profile companies and research institutions, among them Genestack, King’s College London and Wren Therapeutics Limited. Employment partner Hilary Aldred also plays a pivotal role in the practice, which clients describe as 'thorough, quick, and effective'.

Practice head(s):

Chris Shelley; Rachel Bradley

Testimonials

‘The team really get to know the business and the person they are dealing with so that fully understand the requirements and best way to deliver.’

‘They get to know the business and individuals but at the same time they do not pester or become overbearing.’

‘In my experience, this practice is unique in three main respects: – thorough, quick, and effective – excellent listening, isolation of difficulty to be solved, and clear inclusive presentation of solutions. It has a collaborative approach – the process between practice and client felt inclusive and transparent/quick and efficient inclusion of relevant colleagues when appropriate. The people are patient, approachable, proactive, inspire confidence, extremely competent, respectful and empathetic.’

‘Rachel Bradley delivers extremely clear, succinct, and efficient communication with a transparent and respectful approach. She is extremely helpful with prompt responses, and is genuine and supportive.’

Key clients

The Company of Biologists Limited

Genestack

Applied Molecular Transport, Inc

Cytocell Limited

Wren Therapeutics Limited

Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital

Seisma Magazine

Metrion Biosciences

Abcam PLC

King’s College London

Atopix Therapeutics

Galvanize Bio Limited

Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies

Molecular Dimensions

Certis Europe B.V.

Work highlights

  • Advising Applied Molecular Transport, Inc as lead co-ordinator of the review of all European clinical trial agreements for the client, for trials to occur in sites across numerous countries in Europe.
  • For a research Institution, drafting a suite of template of templates to cover research: studentship agreement, master services agreement, NDAs consultancy agreements, sponsored research agreements and material transfer agreements.
  • Advising King’s College London on a manufacturing agreement, and associated quality agreement, for the production of GMP product with a King’s spin out company.