Technology, and the Legal Expertise to Handle Growing Companies

February 28, 2002
Reprinted with permission of the Connecticut Business Magazine, March 2002, by John Torsiello

With its corporate feet firmly planted on Connecticut soil, the law firm of Wiggin & Dana continues to build an international presence.

The firm's Biotechnology and Life Science Practice group has been making major news in Europe recently with the group closing two major deals that had announced values of more than $300 million.

Wiggin & Dana represented Pharmacia Corporation of Peapack, N.J., one of the world's top 10 pharmaceutical companies, in connection with Pharmacia's spin-off of a majority interest in Biovitrum AB, a Stockholm, Sweden-based biotechnology company involved in, among other activities, the discovery of compounds for the treatment of metabolic diseases.

In another major deal, Wiggin & Dana served as counsel to another Swedish biotech company, Karo Bio AB of Stockholm, in its collaboration with the global pharmaceutical company American Home Products in the discovery and development of drugs for atherosclerosis.

Interestingly, Sweden has become one of the world's fastest growing biotechnology sectors, with more biotech companies per capita than any other country. Wiggin & Dana has been right there to facilitate the northern European country's biotech growth, serving as counsel for Swedish biotech and pharmaceutical companies for almost 20 years. The Connecticut firm currently represents more than half of the Swedish public biotech industry.

Founded in 1934 with predecessor firms dating back into the 19th Century, Wiggin & Dana has offices in Stamford, Hartford, and New Haven and its recently opened office in Philadelphia, Pa. The firm employs more than 150 attorneys, who have expertise in all forms of litigation and dispute resolution, antitrust, securities law, labor and employment, benefits, complex corporate and real estate transactions, health care and estate planning and administration.

Wiggin & Dana's Biotechnology and Life Science Practice Group includes attorneys with industry-specific knowledge in such areas as finance, clinical strategy, regulatory affairs, licensing, patents, strategic alliances/corporate partnering, and mergers and acquisitions. A number of the attorneys in the group have had practical experience in the life science industries as biochemists, chemical engineers, pharmaceutical research scientists and DRO project managers.

Serving A Global Economy

Heading the Biotechnology and Life Science Practice group is James Farrington, Jr . When Pharmacia divested $500 million of its worldwide intravenous nutritional fluids business to Fresenius AG and Baxter Health Corp., Farrington went temporarily in-house to head the firm's legal team in Sweden for two years.

Farrington has developed significant experience in biotech and other pharmaceutical and medical device transactions, including international license and distribution agreements, venture capital investments, and research and development agreements.

"Jim's skills in biotech and pharmaceutical are part of the firm's continuing effort to meet the needs to clients in a rapidly changing global economy," according to Noel Hanf , Wiggin & Dana managing partner.

The firm's attorneys currently represent global pharmaceutical and health care companies ranked among the world's largest, a number of established public and private biotechnology firms, and several emerging university spin-offs just beginning their efforts to develop and promote their innovative biotechnology.

Wiggin & Dana regularly counsels clients in a broad variety of collaborative research, development, licensing and marketing arrangements in diverse medical areas, including oncology, nutritional products, metabolic disorders, viral diseases and cardiovascular disorders.

The practice also assists clients in many domestic and international acquisitions of and mergers with other biotech companies, and divestments of business and manufacturing facilities.

While Wiggin & Dana continues to build an impressive international portfolio, the firm also maintains close ties with the Connecticut biotechnology industry as well. The firm counsels the state's biotech companies, including Lifecodes in Stamford in its recent stock-for-stock transaction with Orchid BioSciences.

Wiggin & Dana has also counseled Cellular Genomics, Inc. of Branford and Protometrix Inc. of Guilford in recent private equity financings, and Alexion Pharmaceutical, Inc. of Cheshire in the acquisition of exclusive licensing rights to several novel technologies.

"Many members of our biotech team possess substantial scientific, clinical, and business experience that compliment our legal expertise," said Farrington. "This combination of legal talent and practical industry-specific experience helps Wiggin & Dana to better serve our biotech clients-both those in Europe and here in the rapidly expanding Connecticut bioscience cluster."