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Morrison & Foerster’s global Life Sciences Group is comprised of corporate, transactional, intellectual property, and litigation attorneys who share the value our clients place on the marriage of scientific and business success. We bring superior technical knowledge and business experience for our clients working at the pinnacle of innovation.

We represent more than 550 life sciences companies, research institutions, and venture capital funds and investment banks that finance them. With more than 180 life sciences lawyers around the world, our fully-integrated team has the depth of practice and global reach that are critical in today’s global life sciences market.

We have cultivated a practice that, like our clients’ businesses, is driven by science. Our knowledge and superior experience in pharmaceuticals, biologics, diagnostics, medical devices, vaccines, and over-the-counter products means that we understand the complex technologies at the heart of our clients’ businesses.


Among our resources is one of the largest and most recognized patent practices devoted to life sciences of any full-service law firm, with attorneys who have been involved in the development of the life sciences industry for decades. With deep understanding of how patents fit into a company’s larger business model and commercial strategy, our patent attorneys assist clients with developing and monetizing their patent portfolios, crafting an IP strategy that aligns with their business objectives and goals, and providing counsel to ensure our clients remain competitive in the industry. Our team has played a leading role in the creation and protection of many of the landmark patent portfolios in the life sciences.

It’s this combination of scientific prowess and the acumen of our business lawyers and litigators that sets our practice apart. Our corporate attorneys advise life sciences companies on issues involving corporate governance and formation, mergers and acquisitions, public offerings, public and private debt, and equity financing transactions. Since 2004, we have represented life sciences clients in more than 200 venture capital financings, valued in total at over $3 billion, and completed more than 200 M&A transactions in the life sciences sector. Since 2014, we have completed more than 25 life sciences M&A deals, with a total deal value of more than $14.4 billion.

Our technology transactions attorneys advise on the full range of transactions that arise during the life cycle of products, from billion dollar global collaborations to daily commercial and operational matters. Our transactional attorneys are leaders in structuring and negotiating arrangements in the areas of licensing and technology transfers; strategic collaborations; joint ventures; drug discovery; research and development; manufacturing and supply; distribution, marketing and co-promotion; and pre-clinical and clinical trials.

Our life sciences litigators are widely recognized for their work on IP, product liability, employment and labor, appellate, securities, antitrust, white collar criminal defense, trade secrets, and commercial litigation matters. Aggressively defending our clients’ interests, our team is among the most active litigation departments in the world, and is renowned in the courtroom for, whenever possible, keeping our clients out of the courtroom.


Our life sciences practice is truly global–-one of very few firms that can say that. In addition to the strength of our U.S. team, our practice includes top-tier attorneys strategically located across Europe and Asia.  In Japan, our size and depth of practice are unparalleled by any other international law firm. We represent some of the largest and most active participants in the Japanese life sciences industry, counsel start-up and emerging Japanese companies in the field, and advise international clients on life sciences matters in Japan. Meanwhile, in China, with our long history and deep experience, we are perfectly poised to counsel clients entering, expanding within, and growing outside of the emerging Chinese life sciences market. In Europe, our team offers deep transactional expertise and is renowned for the depth of its life sciences industry knowledge.

Indeed, MoFo is on the cutting edge of the global interplay between science and business. With our depth of technological expertise, wealth of business insight, renowned legal skill, and global presence, our attorneys are helping clients strike the balance between innovative discovery and purposeful business planning to assure their continued success.

Represented Alcon, the eye care division of Novartis, in a major collaboration with Google to develop and commercialize a glucose-sensing contact lens for use by diabetic patients, and an accommodating intraocular and contact lenses to restore the eye’s autofocus.
Strategic patent counseling and prosecution services for Genentech’s most difficult and challenging patent matters, including developing overall patent strategy, patent application drafting, and prosecution for key technologies.
Represent Gilead in various IP due diligence matters as well as provide strategic patent counseling and prosecution services for oncology and HIV treatments.
Edison Pharmaceuticals
Represented Edison Pharmaceuticals in a $4.29 billion strategic alliance with Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd. for the development of drugs targeting cellular energy metabolism.
DaVita Inc.
Represented DaVita Inc. in its $4.42 billion acquisition of HealthCare Partners, LLC and its $3.05 billion acquisition of the U.S. renal care business of Gambro AB.
CNS Therapeutics
Represented CNS Therapeutics from its inception including through two venture financings, a loan facility, patent strategy, licensing and development agreements, critical manufacturing and supply agreements, trademark applications, and ultimately in its sale to the Mallinckrodt division of Covidien for $100 million.
Hanhai Investments Inc.
Advise the U.S. subsidiary of China’s largest operator of life sciences and high tech incubator facilities on the acquisition and development a biotech incubator campus on the San Francisco Peninsula.
Represented Terumo Corporation in its $2.6 billion acquisition of CaridianBCT from Sweden's Gambro AB.
Elan Pharma International Limited v. Abraxis BioScience
(District of Delaware). Represented Abraxis BioScience in defending its lead product, Abraxane, against claims by Elan Pharmaceutical of infringing Elan’s patents for coated nanoparticles used to deliver paclitaxel for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. This was the first nanotechnology patent case taken to jury trial. The case settled in 2011.
Abbott Diabetes Care v. Roche Diagnostics Corp. and Bayer HealthCare LLC
(Northern District of California, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals). Represented Bayer HealthCare in one of the most significant patent cases in recent history. The Federal Circuit used the case to address the doctrine of inequitable conduct, which the court described as the “atomic bomb” of patent law because, if proved, it renders an entire patent (and sometimes related patents) unenforceable. The district court had agreed with Bayer that Abbott’s patent was unenforceable, and a three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit affirmed. The Federal Circuit heard the case en banc, affirmed Bayer’s overall victory in the case, and significantly altered the law of inequitable conduct (including adopting a number of changes urged by Bayer). More than 40 amicus briefs were filed, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office filed a brief and argued. On remand, Bayer again prevailed on inequitable conduct, even under the new, tougher standard.
Good Manufacturing Practices Investigation
Representing a former senior executive of a Fortune 500 health care and pharmaceutical company in connection with an investigation of the company’s good manufacturing practices (“GMP”) and recall of children’s medication.
Lethal Injection Matters
Worked with a major pharmaceutical company to stop the states of Missouri and Texas from using a significant anesthesia drug in their executions. Faced with the threat of litigation, both states chose alternative methods for lethal injection. Our work helped to prevent a catastrophic drug shortage, as the European Union, which publicly opposes executions and had previously banned the export of drugs used in lethal injections, threatened to impose export restrictions if this drug was used for executions anywhere in the United States.

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms 2019
National: Biotechnology Law (Tier 1)
Los Angeles: Biotechnology Law (Tier 1)
San Diego: Biotechnology Law (Tier 1)
San Francisco: Biotechnology Law (Tier 1)

Chambers Global 2018
Global: Life Sciences
Asia-Pacific Region: Life Sciences

Chambers USA 2018
National: Life Sciences
California: Life Sciences

Chambers Asia Pacific 2019
Asia-Pacific Region: Life Sciences
Life Sciences (International Firms): China
Life Sciences (International Firms): Japan

Managing Intellectual Property Shortlist 2018
United States: Life Sciences IP Litigation

LMG Life Sciences 2017
Hatch-Waxman Patent Litigation
Patent Prosecution (Highly Recommended)
Patent Strategy and Management (Highly Recommended)

Here is what they say about us:

“Well placed, thanks to its global network, to provide IP and corporate support to biotech companies and leading investors on joint venture, funding, patent litigation and enforcement, and licensing issues in the life sciences sphere.” (Chambers Global 2018)

“noted for core technology expertise within the [life sciences] sector and an impressive transactional capability across the Asia-Pacific region.” (Chambers Global 2018)

“Top-notch lawyers who are client-focused and business savvy” (Chambers USA 2018)

“Solid teams in the USA and Asia offer broad expertise in transactions and IP work. Noted for its capabilities in capital markets transactions and is well known for patent matters, providing specialists for litigation and prosecution. Assists key international clients in the life sciences sector.”
(Chambers Global 2017)

“Clients say cases are run efficiently, effectively, with consideration of the budget and ultimately end up in an agreeable outcome.”
(Chambers USA 2017)

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Law 360 - Litigation PowerhouseLitigation Powerhouse 2016

“Handles significant corporate transactions for leading life sciences clients, including M&A, strategic partnerships and IPOs. Also offers outstanding expertise in IP licensing and enforcement matters in the USA, with strong support from teams in Japan and China.”
(Chambers Global )

Recognized by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms 2018 as a Tier 1 firm in biotechnology law.

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