2016 Highlights: Life Sciences

Select Awards and Rankings

Law 360 Life Sciences Group of the Year

WSGR Recognized as a Top PTAB Law Firm

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati was recognized by Managing Intellectual Property as one of the nation’s most active law firms at the PTAB in 2016. WSGR is ranked No. 5 for filing 79 PTAB petitions overall, No. 7 for filing 55 PTAB petitions for petitioners, and No. 17 for filing 25 PTAB petitions for respondents in 2016. Individual WSGR attorneys also were recognized in the article for filing the most petitions for both petitioners and respondents in 2016. (Managing Intellectual Property, February 2017)

In addition, WSGR ranked No. 8 in Docket Navigator’s list of the top law firms and corporate legal departments that represented litigants in 2016 inter partes review (IPR), covered business method (CBM), or post-grant review (PGR) proceedings at the PTAB. (Docket Navigator, February 2017)

Firm Recognized in 2016 Life Sciences Law Firm Index

Firm Ranked Highly in 2016 Life Sciences Law Firm Index

In this inaugural year of the Life Sciences Law Firm Index, WSGR was recognized in each of the quarterly rankings for 2016. In Q1, the firm ranked No. 3 in the patent category. In Q2, WSGR was named the best overall life sciences law firm. In Q3, the firm ranked No. 1 in the corporate category of the Index. Lastly, in Q4, WSGR was recognized among the top ten firms for thought leadership. Published by Above the Law in collaboration with Lake Whillans and MedCity News, the Index identifies the most active and relevant law firms for life science companies. Throughout the year, rankings are published that focus on different practice areas.

WSGR Life Sciences Practice Recognized in LMG Life Sciences 2016 Guide

In 2016, several of WSGR’s practices and attorneys were recognized in the LMG Life Sciences 2016 guide. The firm was “highly recommended” in the areas of licensing and collaboration, patent strategy and management, and venture capital, and “recommended” in the areas of corporate and patent prosecution.

Firm Growth

Firm Opens Boston Office


In January 2016, WSGR announced the opening of a Boston office to better serve the growing life sciences community, as well as the expanding technology, energy, and other growth companies in the market. The firm also noted that Mark Solakian would be joining the firm as a life sciences partner to co-lead the Boston office.

Venture Capital

WSGR Achieves Top Ranking for 2016 Venture Financings

In Dow Jones VentureSource’s legal rankings for issuer-side venture financing deals in 2016, WSGR was ranked No. 1 overall for the total number of rounds of equity financing raised on behalf of clients.

According to VentureSource, WSGR ranked first for 2016 issuer-side U.S. deals in the following industries: cleantech, communications and networking, consumer services, electronics and hardware (tie), energy and utilities, healthcare, industrial goods and materials, information technology, medical devices and equipment, semiconductors (tie), and software. (Dow Jones VentureSource, February 2017)

Select 2016 Life Sciences Venture Financings Include:

  • Recursion Pharmaceuticals

    Series A Financing

    October 2016

    $13 million

  • Bardy Diagnostics

    Series A Financing

    September 2016

    $15 million

  • Spirometrix

    Series C Financing

    July 2016

    $17.4 million

  • VytronUS

    Series C Financing

    July 2016

    $49 million

  • Earlens

    Series C Financing

    June 2016

    $51 million

  • Agenovir

    Series A Financing

    May 2016

    $10.6 million

  • Acutus Medical

    Series C Financing

    March 2016

    $75 million

  • 10x Genomics

    Series C Financing

    March 2016

    $55 million

  • EndoShape

    Series E Financing

    January 2016

    $undisclosed

  • ZipLine Medical

    Series C Financing

    January 2016

    $19 million

Capital Markets

Select 2016 Life Sciences Capital Markets Transactions Include:

  • Rici Healthcare

    Initial Public Offering

    October 2016

    $131 million Hong Kong Stock Exchange

  • Xenon Pharmaceuticals

    Follow-On Offering

    September 2016

    $30 million

  • Avinger

    Follow-On Offering

    August 2016

    $30 million

  • iRhythm

    Initial Public Offering

    October 2016

    $107 million

  • China Biologic

    Follow-On Offering

    June 2016

    $308 million

  • NantHealth

    Initial Public Offering

    June 2016

    $91 million

Mergers & Acquisitions

Select 2016 Life Sciences M&a Transactions Include:

  • Savara

    Acquisition of

    Mast Therapeutics

    January 2017

    $Undisclosed

  • FEI Company

    Acquired by

    Thermo Fisher Scientific

    September 2016

    $4.2 billion

  • Sirona Genomics

    Acquired by

    Immucor

    March 2016

    $Undisclosed

  • Transcend Medical

    Acquired by

    Alcon

    February 2016

    $Undisclosed

  • SupraMed

    Acquired by

    Nexttech Systems

    January 2016

    $Undisclosed

  • MediTouch

    Acquired by

    Quality Systems

    January 2016

    $165 million

Intellectual Property

Select Recent Life Sciences IP Matters Include:

  • Delina

    IP matters related to its sale to

    Celgene Corporation

    January 2017

  • PvP Biologics

    Global Development Agreement

    Takeda Pharmaceuticals

    January 2017

  • Forty Seven

    IP matters related to its

    Series A Financing and Licensing Programs

    February 2016

  • FEI Company

    Technology matters related to its acquisition by

    Thermo Fisher Scientific

    May 2016

  • Twist Bioscience

    IP matters related to its acquisition of

    Genome Compiler Corp.

    April 2016

  • Sirona Biochem

    IP matters related to its acquisition by

    Immucor

    March 2016

  • 10xGenomics

    IP matters related to its

    Series C financing round

    March 2016

Litigation

PTAB Confirms Patentability of Paragon’s Claims in Post-Grant Review

On November 14, 2016, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati secured a final written decision from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in a post-grant review (PGR) confirming the patentability of all claims of client Paragon BioTeck’s U.S. Patent No. 8,859,623. This is the first final written decision in a PGR determining that the challenged claims are patentable.

The '623 patent is directed to ophthalmic preparations of phenylephrine and, in particular, to a method for ensuring that patients receive phenylephrine solutions that are both chirally pure and free of phenylephrine degradation products. Paragon submitted a New Drug Application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for these previously grandfathered preparations, which included the claimed method and was approved, leading to an Orange Book listing for the '623 patent. Altaire Pharmaceuticals had petitioned for PGR of all claims of the '623 patent, alleging that they are unpatentable as obvious.

Judge Won’t Reconsider Globus Securities Suit Dismissal

On September 9, 2016, a Pennsylvania federal judge said that she would not reconsider her decision to toss a putative securities fraud class action, accusing Globus Medical of failing to adequately warn investors about a potential revenue slump as a result of its decision to end its relationship with a key distributor. WSGR represented Globus in the matter.

Earlier in the year, the judge threw out the proposed securities fraud class action, finding that the suit did not adequately allege that 2014 earnings projections fraudulently included revenue from a contract the defendants secretly planned to terminate. WSGR represented Globus Medical in the matter.

USPTO Invalidates Two Teva Patents

On August 24, 2016, Mylan announced that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board has invalidated two patents licensed to Teva Pharmaceuticals USA for its multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone following an inter partes review proceeding initiated by Mylan. WSGR is part of the team that represented Mylan in the matter.

PTAB Upholds Verinata Patent After Federal Circuit Remand

On August 15, 2016, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled for a second time that Ariosa Diagnostics failed to show that Verinata Health’s patent on a method of detecting fetal abnormalities was invalid. WSGR represented Verinata in the matter.

Federal Circuit Overturns Ruling Against Medical Device Companies

On July 21, 2016, the Federal Circuit scrapped AngioScore’s $20 million win on breach of duty claims against TriReme Medical, Quattro Vascular, QT Vascular, and AngioScore founder Eitan Konstantino over a heart catheter design, ruling that the California state law claim never should have been heard in federal court. WSGR was part of the team that represented TriReme Medical, Quattro Vascular, and QT Vascular in the matter.

Federal Circuit Upholds NuVasive Surgical Patent Win Post-Commil

On June 3, 2016, the Federal Circuit ruled for the second time that Medtronic induced infringement of a NuVasive patent on detecting nerves during surgery, finding no need to change its previous decision on remand after 2015’s Commil decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on induced infringement. WSGR represented NuVasive in this matter, as well as the earlier ruling in the California federal court.

Delaware District Court Denies Motion for Preliminary Injunction Filed Against Minerva Surgical

On June 2, 2016, the U.S District Court for the District of Delaware denied a motion for preliminary injunction filed in December 2015 by plaintiff Hologic. Hologic’s motion sought to halt Minerva Surgical from commercializing its sole product—the Minerva Endometrial Ablation System approved by the FDA—based on patents that Hologic alleged are infringed by Minerva’s system. WSGR represented Minerva Surgical in the matter.

Neovasc Ducks Massachusetts Law Claim in IP Suit

On May 27, 2016, biotech firm Neovasc, which was hit with a $70 million verdict in a patent and trade secrets lawsuit, won a reprieve on one of the suit’s two pending claims when a federal judge ruled that the company wasn’t liable for unfair business practices under Massachusetts law. WSGR represented Neovasc in the matter.

Mylan Wins PTAB Review of Diabetes Drug

On May 2, 2016, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board issued a decision saying that Mylan had shown a “reasonable likelihood” of prevailing on its assertion that numerous claims in AstraZeneca AB’s diabetes drugs patent are not valid because they are obvious. WSGR represented Mylan in the matter.

Actos Buyers Drop Mylan from Pay-for-Delay Appeal

Actos diabetes drug buyers who urged the Second Circuit to reverse a lower court ruling dismissing their pay-for-delay suit against Takeda and other generic-drug makers, including Actavis, Watson Laboratories, Mylan, Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals, and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, agreed on March 21, 2016, to dismiss the generic manufacturers from the appeal. WSGR represented Mylan in the matter.

Neopharm and Promedico Granted Judgment on the Pleadings

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted Neopharm and Promedico’s motion for judgment on the pleadings on March 18, 2016. In support of its motion, Neopharm and Promedico argued that defendant Wyeth-Ayerst International, now controlled by Pfizer, unlawfully terminated the parties’ distributorship agreement in direct violation of the express terms of the agreement. WSGR represented Neopharm and Promedico in the matter.

Thought Leadership

WSGR Publishes 2016 Technology and Life Sciences IPO Report


The firm recently released a series of publications that review 2016 trends and developments, and preview expectations for 2017. Included in the series is the 2016 Technology and Life Sciences IPO Report, which presents key data related to the initial public offerings of U.S.-based technology and life sciences companies between January 1 and December 1, 2016.

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WSGR Publishes Summer 2016 and Winter 2017 Editions of The Life Sciences Report


In June, the firm published the Summer 2016 edition of The Life Sciences Report. This issue included feature articles on the future of innovation in medtech, the growth of the consumer digital health sector, and how to stay out of trouble when making promotional claims for dietary supplements. The report also included data on life sciences venture financing transactions handled for our clients in 2015, as well as information on life sciences transactions and events.

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In addition, the Winter 2017 edition of The Life Sciences Report included feature articles on new opportunities in consumer digital health, non-dilutive funding sources for medical device and biotechnology companies, utility models and design patents, and FDA expedited review programs. This report also included data on life sciences venture financing transactions handled for our clients in the second half of 2015 and the first half of 2016, as well as information on the firm’s recent life sciences transactions and upcoming events.

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