Top Deal Firms of 2016

Life Sciences Law Firm Index | Q1 Update

Cooley tops the Life Sciences Law Firm Index Top Deal Firms based on its transactional achievements over the course of 2016.

The Life Sciences Law Firm Index identifies the most active and relevant law firms for life science companies. Throughout the year, we publish rankings focused on different practice areas.

The Index uses criteria that matters most to healthcare innovators. In collaboration with our research partners at Breaking Media, the publishers of leading industry sites MedCity News and Above the Law, Lake Whillans collects data in three practice categories—corporate, intellectual property and regulatory—and incorporates information on firms’ work with startup companies and thought ­leadership efforts.

This ranking of Top Deal Firms considers all aspects of corporate and transactional practice, including mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, financing and private equity work. In addition, the expert editorial team of MedCity News identified the most “significant” (i.e., not necessarily the largest) IPO and M&A activity in the life sciences space over the course of 2016. The law firms driving these transactions were granted increased credit in our ratings formula.

The top Life Sciences Law Firm Index Top Deal Firms are:

Firm Score (Perfect score = 20)
1. Cooley 18.8
2. Latham & Watkin 17.9
3. Wilson Sonsini 17.3
4. Fenwick & West 17.2
5. Goodwin Procter 16.9
6. Kirkland & Ellis 16.3
7. Davis Polk & Wardwell 16.1
8. Covington & Burling 15.8
9. Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer 15.6
10. Ropes & Gray (tie) / WilmerHale (tie) 15.4

Congratulations to Cooley on an amazing year in life sciences deals!

On the M&A front, Cooley advised:

  • Stemcentrx, a biotech startup developing drugs to attack cancer-causing stem cells, in its $10.2 billion acquisition by AbbVie.
  • Medical diagnostics company Cepheid in its $4 billion acquisition by Danaher Corp.
  • Medivation in its $14 billion acquisition by Pfizer. The deal will give Pfizer U.S. rights to Xtandi, a blockbuster treatment for advanced metastatic prostate cancer.
  • Jazz Pharmaceuticals on its $1.4 billion deal to acquire the clinical
    stage biopharmaceutical company, Celator Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Cooley also had a busy year for IPO work, including:

  • Advising underwriters in the $91 million IPO for health IT genomics and analytics business NantHealth, which is part of Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong’s NantWorks empire.
  • Advising Myovant Sciences in its $218 million IPO. Myovant focuses on treatment for endocrine disorders.
  • Advising Protagonist Therapeutics on its $90 million offering. Protagonist seeks to reduce need for frequent injections through oral peptide-based drugs for ulcerative colitis.

Other 2016 Life Sciences Transaction Highlights include:

  • Latham & Watkins represented Afferent Pharma in $1.2 billion acquisition by Merck. Afferent is a biotech that specialized in targeting the P2X3 receptor as a pathway to treating a variety of neurogenic conditions.
  • Wilson Sonsini advised NantHealth in its $91 million IPO. The health IT genomics and analytics business founded by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is part of NantWorks empire.
  • Fenwick & West represented Medical diagnostics company Cepheid in its $4 billion acquisition by Danaher Corp.
  • Goodwin Procter represented Intellia Therapeutics in its IPO. Intellia, which focuses on gene editing technology to combat cancer, raised $108 million.
  • Kirkland & Ellis advised clinical stage biopharmaceutical company Celator Pharmaceuticals in its $1.5 billion sale to Jazz Pharmaceuticals.
  • Davis Polk advised BeiGene, the first Chinese biotech to go public in the United States in a decade. BeiGene raised $158 million and will use the proceeds to fund clinical trials of cancer immunotherapy drugs.
  • Covington & Burling advised AbbVie in a $10.2 billion deal to acquire Stemcentrx, a biotechnology startup developing drugs to attack cancer-causing stem cells.
  • Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer represented Switzerland-based pharmaceutical, biotech and specialty ingredients supplier Lonza in connection with its $300 million acquisition of California-based InterHealth Nutraceuticals Inc.
  • Ropes & Gray represented Pfizer buying Medivation in $14 billion deal. The deal will give Pfizer U.S. rights to Xtandi, a treatment for advanced metastatic prostate cancer.
  • WilmerHale represented Massachusetts-based gene editing company Editas Medicine in its $94.4 million initial public offering that closed in February 2016.



A Note on Methodology

Our rankings methodology is designed to reflect a holistic view of the role of a law firm throughout the life cycle of a life sciences company: from inception through clinical trials.

In each category of practice, we identified the relevant, quantifiable factors. For example, under the Corporate category, our review included — but was not confined to — public and private financings, IPOs and M&A activity. For the Patent category, we included factors such as number of patents issued, “allowance rate,” and successful patent defenses. Among the items in the Regulatory category are clinical trials, commercialization and approvals. The Thought Leadership ratings incorporated, among other things, the publication of white papers, contributions to third-party media, blogging and social media, as well as speaking or teaching engagements.

Within each category, firms were organized into tiers based on the complexity, value, variety and reach of their practice and scores were apportioned accordingly. Our rankings formula is as follows:

  • Corporate: 40%
  • Patent: 20%
  • Regulatory: 20%
  • Start-up work: 10%
  • Thought leadership: 10%

To complement our comprehensive review of all publicly available information, we invited firms to complete a questionnaire detailing their life science practices.

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