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Life Sciences

Life Sciences
Life Sciences

The life sciences industry is seeing increased demand, explosive growth and significant strides in product and technological innovation across the pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device, digital health and diagnostic sectors. This growth has generated renewed investor interest in the sector, and coincides with expanded and more stringent regulatory requirements, aggressive patent acquisition and enforcement, high volumes of strategic M&A activity, and increased product liability and class action litigation.

The Blakes Life Sciences group advises Canadian companies operating in the sector, along with international companies entering the Canadian market, expanding operations in Canada or conducting cross-border activities as part of international businesses.  Our clients include established multinational, mid-market and emerging pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device, diagnostic product, and consumer product businesses as well as healthcare and health-related service providers, research institutions, financial institutions and investors.

Our team is internationally recognized in the life sciences sector. Many Blakes practitioners have advanced degrees in life sciences and related technologies.  We combine this sector specialization with regulatory, commercial, transactional/M&A, antitrust/competition, litigation, intellectual property, tax, transfer pricing, privacy, cybersecurity and other expertise to meet the needs of our clients.

Health & Product Regulatory
A distinguishing feature of our practice is our expertise in the vast array of Canadian regulatory regimes at the federal and provincial levels.  We advise clients on all matters involving life sciences regulation, including product approvals and labelling, pricing and reimbursement, product listing agreements, rebates, interchangeability of drugs, conflicts of interest, procurement, anti-bribery, freedom of information, privacy and cybersecurity, product marketing and advertising, interaction with healthcare professionals, digital health, drug and device import and export, clinical trials, and product recalls.

Financing, M&A and Commercial Matters
Life science companies looking to consolidate operations, acquire products or technology, divest themselves of non-strategic products or functions, or attract partners or funding for research, growth or ongoing operations, rely on Blakes for advice.

In addition to our significant experience in public and private financing, investment and M&A transactions, we regularly advise clients in the life sciences sector in connection with product supply, distribution, licensing, technology transfer, collaborations, strategic alliances, joint ventures, and other industry specific commercial arrangements.

Intellectual Property
Clients also retain Blakes for strategic advice on protecting their innovations and collaborating with others in the research and development of pharmaceutical, biological, medical device and combination products.  We handle patent and other intellectual property protection, portfolio management, risk management, and litigation.

Litigation & Dispute Resolution
When disputes arise, Blakes is a leading choice for representation across Canada.  Our litigators are among the most experienced in class action and product liability defence.

Developing an appropriate strategy is vital to mitigate risk and manage the defence of multiple claims and multijurisdictional class actions.  A keen understanding of our clients’ businesses and industry sectors allows us to be pragmatic in the advice we give.

We have successfully represented clients in hundreds of class actions across the country, including the first medical device class action to go to trial in Canada, as well as other precedent-setting cases and multijurisdictional disputes requiring global coordination.

Our IP litigation team is equally renowned for its litigation skill and experience in the courtroom, handling numerous high-profile disputes for our life sciences clients, including the first patent infringement trial relating to a biosimilar product.

Recent Experience
  • venBio Partners LLC on its C$23-million minority investment in 35Pharma Inc.

  • Fonds de solidarité FTQ on its investment in NuChem Sciences Inc. in connection with NuChem’s acquisition of IniXium

  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, as agent, on DRI Healthcare Trust's credit agreement with a syndicate of lenders to establish a US$200-million revolving senior secured credit facility.

  • ​BioPharma Services Inc. on its acquisition by Think Research Corporation.

  • ​CRH Medical Corporation on its US$293-million acquisition by Well Health Technologies Corp.

  • Brooks Automation, Inc. on its acquisition of all of the shares of Trans-Hit Biomakers, Inc.

  • AbCellera Biologics Inc. on its US$555-million initial public offering​.

  • GlaxoSmithKline on its agreement to provide the Government of Canada with up to 76 million doses of an adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine, in collaboration with Medicago.

  • ​Forbius on its sale to Bristol Myers Squibb.

  • GlaxoSmithKline on its agreement to provide the Government of Canada with up to 72 million doses of an adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine, in collaboration with Sanofi.

  • The Fertility Partners on the acquisition of two fertility clinics in Montréal (Clinique ovo) and Vancouver (Olive Fertility Centre), as well as securing approximately C$90-million in equity and debt financing.

  • GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals S.A. on its collaboration agreement with Medicago Inc. to develop, manufacture and distribute a COVID-19 candidate vaccine.

  • Correvio Pharma Corp. on its US$76-million proposed acquisition by Advanz Pharma.

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

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

  • 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

  • LMG Life Sciences

  • IAM 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners

  • Managing Intellectual Property IP Stars

  • Who's Who Legal: Life Sciences

  • Who’s Who Legal: Canada

  • Who’s Who Legal: Patent 

  • Who’s Who Legal: Business 

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada