Intellectual versatility combined with incisive, pragmatic counseling and business acumen has become the hallmark of Dr. Catherine Polizzi’s practice.
Dr. Polizzi helps emerging and established companies through the challenging process of obtaining patents and providing strategic, effective portfolio counseling and management, as well as strategic advice surrounding freedom of operation and other forms of IP assessment. She develops valuable, strategic portfolios around breakthrough therapies in a variety of areas, including cancer, cancer immunotherapy, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, infectious diseases, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. She also has significant experience in a wide spectrum of technology areas, including biologics (such as antibodies and polypeptides), nucleic acids, personalized medicine, diagnostics, T cell technologies such as chimeric antigen receptors, drug formulation technologies, drug delivery technologies such as nanotechnologies, microfluidics, drug screening systems, amplification technologies, genetic screening, regenerative medicine, nutraceuticals, spectroscopy, and organic chemistry including small molecule drugs. Her unique background, ability to integrate IP with a given business model to translate into meaningful risk assessment and advice, and highly effective communication skills in critical settings such as R&D, all phases of product development, and investment contexts, enable Dr. Polizzi to provide effective, creative solutions to the significant challenges often faced by clients.
Dr. Polizzi’s practice also includes due diligence evaluation and counseling in the context of venture investment assessments and in connection with public and private financing, spin-offs, partnerships, and mergers and acquisitions. Representative transactions resulting from Dr. Polizzi’s leadership include the $14 billion acquisition by Pfizer of client Medivation, as well as the previous $225 million Pfizer investment in Medivation; Celgene Corporation’s $2.9 billion acquisition of client Abraxis BioScience; Pfizer’s acquisition of client Rinat Neuroscience; Alpine Immune Sciences’ $48 million Series A financing and subsequent $90 million merger with Nivalis Therapeutics resulting in a publicly traded company; and TOPICA Pharmaceuticals’ $27 million Series B financing.
In addition to helping create value and commercialize her clients’ technologies, Dr. Polizzi devises strategies and defenses to fortify their patents in the event of legal challenges by competitors. Accordingly, she renders advice on all aspects of patent positioning, including opinions on patentability, validity, freedom of operation, infringement, and competitor IP evaluation. She also works in the area of third-party challenges, such as inter partes review (IPR) and oppositions. She is a key member of litigation teams.
Dr. Polizzi is patent counsel to numerous publicly traded and privately held companies, with many new client relationships resulting from her strong reputation in the life sciences industry. Genentech, the world’s first and most successful biotechnology company, relies on Dr. Polizzi’s strategic patent counseling and prosecution services for its most difficult and challenging pate nt matters. Her work involves developing overall patent strategy, patent application drafting, and prosecution for key technologies. Her high-value work for Genentech also includes strategic assessment of key and novel technologies, as well as patent litigation support and advisement.
Dr. Polizzi has been Medivation’s trusted outside patent counsel for more than a decade, and created its initial patent strategy and portfolio. Dr. Polizzi also oversees additional promising drug candidates in Medivation’s pipeline. She led the IP due diligence team for Medivation’s acquisition of BioMarin’s phase III cancer drug, talazoparib, for $410 million upfront with another $160 million in milestones.
Dr. Polizzi represents Celgene in patent strategy, drafting, and IP due diligence matters. She worked with Abraxis BioScience for many years in a similar capacity to help develop the IP position for the highly successful cancer drug, Abraxane. Dr. Polizzi then counseled the company through its $2.9 billion acquisition by Celgene Corporation, including providing significant IP strategy and due diligence counseling. This IP platform was a major component of the valuation of the company.
Dr. Polizzi advises Juno Therapeutics, one of the best-funded start-ups in biotechnology history, now a publicly traded company, on patent strategy and prosecution. Her additional representative clients include clinical-stage and start-up companies such as SQZ Biotech, Dynavax Technologies, Medivation, Jounce Therapeutics, TARIS Biomedical, Counsyl, Cytokinetics, Alpine Immune Sciences, Achaogen, Lyndra, SDCmaterials, Mitra Biotech, and Nutrition & Fitness.
From 2006 through 2009, Dr. Polizzi served as the chair of the firm’s Patent Prosecution & Counseling Group and co-chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property Group. She is ranked again by Chambers USA 2017 in Life Sciences: IP/Patent Litigation. Chambers noted that Dr. Polizzi “is lauded by sources for her guidance on the management of IP portfolios, including in the realm of patent prosecution,” while clients find “she is very helpful for the structuring of the IP components in licensing deals, excellent for patent prosecution work and goes above and beyond.” Dr. Polizzi has also received the following awards and accolades:
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