Bird & Bird advises AstraZeneca on complex alliance with CAT


International law firm Bird & Bird has been advising AstraZeneca’s in-house Legal Department on a collaboration alliance agreement with Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT). This major strategic alliance for AstraZeneca and CAT relates to the discovery and development of monoclonal antibodies, principally in respiratory and inflammatory diseases. The structure of the transaction is a novel one for alliances of this nature.

Representing an important strategic move for both AstraZeneca and CAT, the agreement will allow the parties to make significant progress in the discovery and development of human monoclonal antibodies as drugs, principally in the field of inflammatory and respiratory diseases. The parties will commence a minimum of 25 discovery programmes, all of which involve a complex arrangement by which the parties have certain rights to opt-in or opt-out of the development of products coming out of the alliance.

Bird & Bird worked collaboratively with AstraZeneca’s in-house team, led by Liam McIlveen and advised on all aspects relating to the alliance agreement. The work at Bird & Bird was undertaken by George Pickering, a Senior Associate specialising in life sciences in Bird & Bird’s Brussels office and John Wilkinson, the joint head of Bird & Bird’s international life sciences practice. Vanessa French, Senior Counsel at AstraZeneca and Richard Eccles, competition partner at Bird & Bird advised on the EU competition aspects of the alliance agreement.

Commenting on the deal, Liam McIlveen, Senior Counsel in AstraZeneca’s Legal Department said:

“This is very exciting news for us. It is a strategically important deal for AstraZeneca and Bird & Bird’s support was of great assistance in allowing us to meet a very demanding timescale and to address several complex issues in innovative ways.”

Commenting, John Wilkinson added:

“This was a great opportunity for us to work with AstraZeneca’s very experienced in-house team. Liam, George and I enjoyed the challenges of structuring and negotiating a complex and innovative transaction designed to meet the very different needs of a major global pharmaceutical business and a successful biopharmaceutical company”.

For more information on this deal please contact John Wilkinson on +44 (0)20 7905 6275 or Larry Cattle on +44 (0)20 7415 6156.