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’ compact competition team has established itself as one of the market leaders in the pharmaceutical sector and for cases involving a crossover between antitrust and intellectual property.”

Global Competition Review 2021

“Strong UK-based practice offering expertise in pan-European IP matters, with a solid reputation in cross-border matters of both a transactional and contentious nature.”

Chambers and Partners Europe 2021

“Bristows has a team of excellent professionals who deliver outcomes on time and have a great, client-friendly approach that makes cooperation very easy.”

Chambers and Partners Global 2021

“They are a great team to work with; it is easy and seamless.”

Chambers and Partners Global 2021

“There is a lot of expertise in the firm and the lawyers collaborate to provide the best service to their clients.”

Chambers and Partners Global 2021

Recent rankings and awards

Life Sciences – Band 1
Chambers and Partners UK 2019

Life Sciences: IP/Patent Litigation - Band 1
Chambers and Partners UK 2019

Life Sciences: Transactional - Band 2
Chambers and Partners UK 2019

Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology - Top tier
Legal 500 2019

Life Sciences - Band 3
Chambers and Partners Europe 2019