At Bristows, we have been involved in the biotech sector since the earliest days of its emergence, representing Genentech and Chiron Corporation during the 1980s and 1990s in two of the UK’s highest profile biotech patent cases.

We have stayed close to the industry throughout the years, advising on a wide range of legal issues from patent protection, enforcement and freedom to operate, navigation of the regulatory regime for complex new products, spin-outs, financings, IPOs and other exits as well as the full range of transactions relating to the development and commercialisation of biotech products.  We have advised on the application of competition law to developing business models and handled a number of complex arbitrations in this area.

We have been deeply involved in developments surrounding antibody technology and, more recently, cell and gene therapies and the business opportunities afforded, including advising on the exploitation of immunotherapy, gene therapy and gene editing technologies.  This has been coupled with expertise in the legal issues surrounding gene sequencing and the exploitation of data.

Key contacts

Dominic Adair



Advising Genomics England (GEL) on the 100,000 Genome Project, a project backed by the UK Government to sequence the DNA of 100,000 NHS patients.  Over more than five years, we have advised GEL on its IP and commercialisation strategy for implementing the largest sequencing project in the world and led negotiations for the various data, IT, technology and IP commercialisation projects, as well as assisting on real estate transactions to house the sequencing and technology hardware and providing employment and corporate advisory services to the organisation.

We have advised a number of global biotech companies in confidential arbitrations relating to the outcome of collaborations for the development and commercialisation of monoclonal antibody products and platforms.  Our advice has pulled in specialist expertise in respect of patent scope and infringement as well as deep experience of international arbitration and associated competition law issues relating to scope of licences granted and royalty term.

For more than 20 years we have assisted UCL Business (the tech transfer arm of University College London) with the commercialisation of novel biotech and regenerative medicine technologies, including the licensing to BioMarin of its Factor VIII gene therapy and the establishment of a number of spin-out companies: CAR-T company Autolus (NASDAQ listed), Freeline Therapeutics specialising in liver directed gene therapies and Quell Therapeutics, specialising in Regulatory T-cell technology, each backed by leading UK life sciences investor, Syncona.

For some years, we have helped our client navigate multiple regulatory hurdles to develop an innovative system to deliver medicines and cell therapies directly into the brain. The therapy poses multiple challenges for regulators, but promises to revolutionise conditions ranging from Parkinson’s to glioma.

Advising Dr Emmanuelle Charpentier, one of the co-inventors of the revolutionary CRISPR cas-9 gene editing technology, on her IP arrangements with CRISPR Therapeutics, ERS Genomics and the other CRISPR stakeholders.

Assisting global healthcare company, Fresenius Kabi, with its European adalimumab biosimilar strategy, including enforcement of patent rights claiming various formulations across Europe, defence of revocation proceedings and assisting Fresenius with the coordination of its European biosimilar launch, working with lawyers in over 30 countries.

We have advised clinical stage biotech company, Albireo Pharma, since its original spin-out from AstraZeneca in 2008 backed by Phase Nomura Phase 4 Ventures.  Since then we have advised Albireo on subsequent finance rounds and restructurings leading to its NASDAQ listing.

Advising Johnson & Johnson and its investment arm JJDC on a number of early stage collaboration, licensing and investment deals relating to novel technologies in this space.

Latest articles

What others say

“Bristows is a very good firm, particularly in coordinating multi-jurisdictional litigation. They have a good network of colleagues across Europe.”

Chambers and Partners Europe 2024

“They are really great, client-centric, and very knowledgeable about the industry. The Bristows team comes up with pragmatic solutions, and adds a personal touch to advice. They have a solid team across the board. I do not see them as just there to make a profit. They are efficient and true partners.”

Chambers and Partners Europe 2024

“They are very strong in the life sciences area with deep understanding of the regulations and requirements. They deliver as promised, are friendly to work with and communicate clearly and openly.”

Chambers and Partners 2024

“One of the UK’s leading life sciences practices. Across the firm, there is tremendous strength in depth. Great understanding of the market through acting for a wide range of clients.”

Legal 500 2024

“A ‘truly exceptional’ [Life sciences] practice which assists clients with the full gamut of commercial, regulatory and IP-related issues.”

Legal 500 2024

Recent rankings and awards

Life Sciences: Transactional - Band 2
Chambers and Partners UK 2023

Life Sciences: IP/Patent litigation  - Band 1
Chambers and Partners UK 2023

Life Sciences and Healthcare - Tier 1
Legal 500 2023

Life Sciences - Band 1
Chambers and Partners UK 2022

Life Sciences - Band 4
Chambers and Partners Europe 2022

Life Sciences - Band 4
Chambers and Partners Global 2022

Life Sciences & Pharmaceutical Sector (International & Cross-border) - Band 2
Chambers and Partners Global 2022

Best Life Sciences Law Firm - Europe
Global Health & Pharma - Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Awards 2021

Life Sciences
Leaders League UK 2020

Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology - Top tier
Legal 500 2019