MoFo London's Life Sciences Team Goes from Strength to Strength


Litigation, Germany, United Kingdom, and Brussels

Press Release

London, March 29, 2005 - The expanded Life Sciences Group in Morrison & Foerster's London office has had a busy six weeks. The team has advised on a number of significant transactions including two initial public offerings, the acquisition of Cambridge Biotechnology by Biovitrum and a collaboration between Lorantis, Corixa and Apovia.

Morrison & Foerster's European life sciences practice offers unrivalled transactional expertise. Boosted substantially in February when corporate partners Paul Claydon and James Gubbins joined commercial specialist Julian Thurston, the team provides advice on collaborative development and licensing agreements, strategic partnering arrangements and other forms of licensing as well as corporate transactions including IPOs and other securities issues, private equity transactions and mergers and acquisitions.

A recent Global Counsel Life Sciences Handbook described the three partners as [Paul Claydon] "firmly established as a major player in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors"; [James Gubbins] a "high profile corporate and finance specialist with an enviable biotech and pharmaceutical sector track record" and [Julian Thurston] a "premier collaborative IP specialist, very highly rated for his expertise in commercial exploitation, protection and strategic planning issues."

Paul Claydon commented: "We are delighted the expanded practice has got off to a flying start. We have always believed that the combination of life science focused corporate lawyers working together with life science focused strategic partnering and licensing lawyers is the optimum model for our clients, and the early signs are that this is being borne out in our target markets".

Ardana IPO: A team led by Paul Claydon, and including partner James Gubbins and associates Bradley Theobald, James Halstead and James Ryan, advised Ardana, an emerging pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and marketing of products to improve human reproductive health, on its successful initial public offering on the Official List and related £21million fundraising.

Plethora IPO: A team led by James Gubbins, and including associates Natalie Diep and Hamid Rashidmanesh advised Plethora, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of products for the treatment of urological disease, on its successful initial public offering on the Alternative Investment Market and related £10million fundraising.

Cambridge Biotechnology Sale: Partner Paul Claydon and associate James Halstead acted on the sale of privately held drug discovery company Cambridge Biotechnology to the Swedish company Biovitrum. Cambridge Biotechnology is developing compounds for obesity, pain and inflammation, while Biovitrum develops compounds for metabolic diseases, oncology and ophthalmology. Morrison & Foerster acted for the selling venture capital investors: Merlin BioSciences, Cambridge Gateway, Avlar BioVentures, Northern Investors and Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation. Lorantis / Corixa Collaboration: A team led by Julian Thurston and including Paul Claydon and James Ryan advised Lorantis, a Cambridge UK based immunotherapy company in relation to its deal with Corixa Corporation, a developer of immunotherapeutics. Under the terms of their joint collaboration, the companies will continue the development of a therapeutic hepatitis B vaccine, containing Corixa’s RC-529™ adjuvant and Lorantis’ CV-1831, a hepatitis B core antigen that was previously owned by Apovia, Inc. This collaboration builds on the initial research and development conducted by Corixa and Apovia for the development of a therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of hepatitis B.

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