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Life Sciences

Life Sciences
Life Sciences
Expertise / Sectors / Life Sciences

​The life sciences industry, including the pharmaceutical, biotechnological, medical device and diagnostic sectors, has seen explosive growth as a result of increasing demand for health-related goods and services as well as major leaps in technology. This growth has paralleled expanded and more stringent regulatory requirements, aggressive patent acquisition and enforcement, strategic M&A activity, and increased product liability and other litigation.

Internationally recognized for our life sciences expertise, we combine our regulatory, intellectual property, commercial, transactional, M&A, antitrust/competition, litigation and other expertise to meet the needs of many participants in the life sciences industry. Our clients include established and emerging multinational pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device, diagnostic product, consumer product and pharmacy businesses as well as health-related service providers, research institutions, financial institutions and investors.

A distinguishing feature of our practice is our expertise in the vast array of regulatory regimes at the federal and provincial levels. We advise numerous clients, including manufacturers, wholesalers and pharmacies, on all matters, including product approvals and labelling, pricing and reimbursement, price controls, product listing agreements, rebates, professional allowances, interchangeability of drugs, conflict of interest issues, procurement matters, freedom of information matters, drug advertising, drug import and export issues, clinical trials, and recalls. 

Clients also retain Blakes for strategic advice on protecting their innovations and collaborating with others in the research and development of pharmaceutical, biological, device and combination products. We handle patent and other intellectual property protection, portfolio management, risk management and litigation. Many Blakes practitioners have advanced degrees in life sciences and other related technologies.

We also have significant experience in research and development, product acquisition, distribution, licence, technology transfer, collaboration, strategic alliance, joint venture and other industry specific arrangements. As life science companies look to consolidate operations, acquire products or technology, divest themselves of non-strategic products or functions, or attract partners and research funding, they rely on Blakes, a leader in M&A, securities, finance and competition law.

When disputes arise, Blakes is a leading choice for representation. Successfully advocating for life sciences industry clients in high-profile litigation matters, we have one of the most experienced Class Actions teams in Canada and are among a small number of Canadian firms with notable success at trial and on dispositive applications and motions. Recognized as leading Canadian lawyers in product liability defence, we have handled precedent-setting cases, including the first medical device class action to go to trial in Canada.

Additionally, we advise on income tax, commodity tax and cross-border tax issues, including transfer pricing, marketing and advertising, privacy, employment and real estate matters.

We are active in industry organizations and offer timely and insightful industry information to help our clients stay abreast of legal developments and trends.

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Recent Experience
  • Bristol Myers Squibb, parent company of Celgene Corporation, in Celgene’s sale of the worldwide rights to Otezla®

  • Catalent Pharma Solutions Ltd., as Canadian counsel, on its purchase of all of the shares of Accucaps Industries Ltd. from Apotex Holdings Inc.

  • GlaxoSmithKline plc on its acquisition of Novartis AG's Vaccines business

  • Labomar Inc. on its acquisition of ImportFab s.r.l.

  • Janssen and the Kennedy Trust in a patent impeachment and infringement action related to Remicade (infliximab), a biologic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis; first patent infringement action in Canada relating to a subsequent entry biologic (a generic version of a biologic drug, also referred to as a biosimilar) (Janssen Inc. v. Pfizer Canada Inc.)

  • A large multi-national provider of electronic and electronical products, systems and solutions on the Canadian aspects of a multi-billion dollar sale of their global medical device business

  • A private equity firm in connection with its acquisition and continuing consolidation of specialist dental and orthodontist practices across Canada

  • Product liability class actions against leading multinational manufacturers and distributors of pharmaceutical, over-the-counter medicines and medical devices, including gastrointestinal medicines, contraceptive products and orthopaedic components; also involved in the national co-ordination of class action defence and strategy in other provinces including Quebec, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan

  • Advising and assisting numerous pharmaceutical and device manufacturers and wholesalers and pharmacies on product approvals, pricing and reimbursement, product listing agreements, rebates, professional allowances, interchangeability of drugs, conflict of interest issues, procurement matters, and freedom of information requests relating to pricing

  • Advising, drafting and negotiating industry-specific agreements, including those relating to collaborations, technology transfers, licences, and product manufacturing and distribution

  • Drafting and negotiating Canadian clinical trial agreements for a major pharmaceutical company and a major medical devices company

  • Preparing and prosecuting extensive intellectual property portfolios, including those relating to novel DNA markers for identifying certain forms of cancer, humanized antibodies for treatment against certain infections, prosthetic spinal implants, and the production of recombinant proteins and specialized in-situ delivery systems for such proteins

  • Providing advice on Patented Medicine Prices Review Board issues, drug advertising, drug import and export issues, and clinical trials

Awards & Recognition

Members of our Life Sciences group are recognized for their expertise in life sciences, intellectual property, product liability, class action defence, regulatory, advertising and marketing,  tax, transfer pricing, and corporate and commercial law in the most recent editions of the following publications:

  • Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory

  • The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada

  • The Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-border Litigation Lawyers in Canada

  • Who's Who Legal: Life Sciences

  • Who’s Who Legal: Canada

  • Who’s Who Legal: Patent 

  • Who’s Who Legal: Business 

  • Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World’s Leading Litigation and Product Liability Lawyers

  • Legal Media Group’s The Best of the Best 

  • Legal Media Group’s World’s Leading Transfer Pricing Advisers

  • Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World’s Leading Women in Business Law

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys

  • LMG Life Sciences

  • International Tax Review’s Tax Controversy Leaders

  • IAM 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners

  • Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World’s Leading Litigation and Product Liability Lawyers

  • Managing Intellectual Property IP Stars

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada

In 2015, Blakes won three LMG Life Sciences Awards. Two of the awards were presented to the following individuals: "Canadian Financial & Transactional Attorney of the Year" to Joseph Garcia and "Canadian Product Liability Attorney of the Year" to Gordon McKee. As a firm, Blakes received the "Canadian Financial & Transactional Firm of the Year". Joseph Garcia also received the "Visionary Leadership Award" from BIOTECanada GoldLeaf Awards 2015 and "Partner/Advisor of the Year Award" from Life Sciences BC Awards 2015. 

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