Bird & Bird Strengthen Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology Team

26 July 2000

International law firm, Bird & Bird, has appointed pharmaceuticals and biotechnology specialist, John Wilkinson, as a partner in the corporate department, augmenting its burgeoning practice in this sector.

John joins the firm from CRCT, the technology transfer arm of The Cancer Research Campaign, where he was Legal Counsel and Company Secretary. His experience has been gained at the cutting edge of the life sciences industry, advising CRCT and two of its start up companies, Cancer Research Ventures and EPTTCO. Whilst at CRCT John has worked on a wide range of innovative new ventures and agreements with a number of pharmaceutical and bioscience companies, including Onyvax, KuDOS Pharmaceuticals, and Cyclacel.

John has a degree in chemistry from Imperial College and began his career as a chemist with Laporte Industries and ICI Pharmaceuticals, now AstraZeneca. In a career change, he trained as a solicitor with Lovell White Durrant and post qualification, specialised in advising clients in the life sciences sector before joining CRCT.

"More than any other sector, this is an area where deep knowledge is required. Emerging companies in the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sector are predominantly the brainchild of the scientists and academics active this field. They need legal advisors who have an understanding of often highly complex, technical issues, but who can also offer real commercial acumen. John Wilkinson has that rare combination of skills", said Charles Crosthwaite, corporate partner and joint head of Bird & Bird's Life Sciences Group.

John Wilkinson added:

"Bird & Bird has an excellent reputation through its work for clients such as the technology transfer unit of Imperial College and the Pharmagene IPO. Significant advances such as the mapping of the human genome, herald an upsurge in the Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology (Life Sciences) sector. I am delighted to be joining the right firm at the right time."

In its first IPO in the Biotechnology sector, the firm advised Pharmagene, a company specialising in pre-clinical use of human tissue to facilitate drug development, on its initial public offering to raise £40 million.

For more information on Bird & Bird, please contact Larry Cattle on + 44 (0) 20 7415 6156.