Gowling WLG named TMT Team of the Year at British Legal Awards 2018

30 November 2018

International law firm Gowling WLG has triumphed in the TMT Team of the Year category at the Legal Week British Legal Awards 2018.

The firm's Life Sciences team were named TMT Team of the Year at the ceremony in London on 29th November for their advice to the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca in relation to their collaboration with global healthcare company Merck & Co.

The award winning work saw the firm put in place a strategic collaboration agreement with Merck for the development and commercialisation of the cancer medicine Lynparza (olaparib), an innovative, first-in-class inhibitor which is currently approved for the treatment of BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer.

As part of the agreement, Merck will pay AstraZeneca up to $8.5 billion in total consideration, including $1.6 billion upfront, $750 million for certain license options and up to $6.15 billion contingent upon successful achievement of future regulatory and sales milestones.

The ground-breaking collaboration, one of the biggest deals ever in the oncology sector, was also named Licensing Deal of the Year at the 14th Annual Scrip Awards on 28th November.

Partner Patrick Duxbury, who led on the work alongside Partner Luke Kempton, said: "To have assisted in relation to such an important programme to develop new cancer therapies was a pleasure. Combining and collaborating the efforts of such major players in oncology is key to driving the innovation and problem-solving skills that are required to tackle cancer."

"We are proud to have added to the expertise that both companies bring to pharmaceutical development with a legal team that brings sector focused insight and experience to bear on such a major deal. While pharmaceutical collaborations are a strategic focus for many big pharma companies, the sheer scale of this collaborative agreement is what sets it apart from others in the sector and we're thrilled this has been recognised with the British Legal Awards TMT Team of the Year award."

Supporting on the deal were a multi-disciplinary team, which included specialists in IP, life sciences and corporate law, of Jenny DaviesChris FreethMathilda Davidson, Ammina Rao, and Jeremy Millington.  The AstraZeneca in house legal team was led by Deputy General Counsel Liam McIveen and Senior Counsel Matt Chuter.

With over 150 professionals across in the UK and around the world, Gowling WLG’s Life Sciences Group delivers top-tier services to a broad spectrum of clients — from investors and public issuers to innovative start-ups and multinational brands — in a range of key life sciences industries, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, diagnostics, healthcare services, vaccines, food and beverage, agriculture and cosmetics.

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Ben Griffiths Senior Corporate Communications Executive Birmingham