Press Release

Morrison & Foerster Expands Life Sciences Platform with Lateral Partner Addition in Silicon Valley

Industry-Leading Corporate Lawyer Michael O’Donnell Enhances Key Practice

07 Feb 2011
PALO ALTO, CA (February 7, 2011) – Morrison & Foerster LLP is pleased to announce that Michael O’Donnell has joined the firm’s Palo Alto office as a partner in the Corporate Group. He will serve as the head of corporate life sciences on the West Coast. Mr. O’Donnell has extensive experience representing life sciences companies, particularly in the biopharmaceutical industry, in venture capital financings, corporate collaborations, M&A, and public securities offerings. He brings more than 25 years of experience managing the uniquely complex, layered negotiations that characterize life sciences transactions.

Prior to joining Morrison & Foerster, O’Donnell was a longtime partner in the Palo Alto office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. He has been a key player in some of the more notable biopharmaceutical company transactions in the Bay Area and San Diego. Mr. O’Donnell was the founding attorney and lead attorney on the initial public offerings for companies such as Illumina, Pain Therapeutics, Cytokinetics, NeurogesX, and Neurocrine Biosciences. Mr. O’Donnell also has extensive experience with negotiating strategic alliances, representing clients in major collaborations with Pfizer, GSK, Amgen, Schering-Plough, and J&J and King Pharmaceuticals. He was also the lead attorney responsible for negotiating a number of notable biopharmaceutical spin-outs, including Onyx Pharmaceuticals (Chiron-Cetus), and Tularik (Genetech), as well the lead attorney on the reverse merger of Transcept Pharmaceuticals with Novacea, creating a new publicly traded entity.

“The addition of Mike is a major step forward in the continuing expansion of our Life Sciences Practice, a top priority for the firm,” said Keith Wetmore, Chair of Morrison & Foerster. “Life sciences companies are involved in intricate transactions requiring strategic, sophisticated legal counsel. Mike has an impressive track record for delivering superior results for his clients. His practice expertise, coupled with the firm’s patent prosecution, intellectual property and technology transactions experience, will enhance our ability to serve this important sector.”

Suz Mac Cormac, Business Department Co-Chair, noted, “California is a center of life sciences activity and innovation, and home to many of the industry's leading players. Mike’s experience, capabilities, and intimate understanding of the industry will allow us to do even more to help clients advance their business goals. We are excited to welcome him to the firm and look forward to his continuing success in this vital industry.”

Mr. O’Donnell said, “I am excited about joining Morrison & Foerster. The firm’s international reach and rich experience in the life sciences sector, particularly regarding intellectual property matters, coupled with the firm’s collaborative approach, are very attractive qualities to me. I look forward to contributing in every possible way to the firm’s continuing success.”

Mr. O’Donnell earned his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Bucknell University.
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