Press Release

Cooley Strengthens Life Sciences Practice

December 19, 2016
  • Three leading partners from two law firms arrive with Mid-Atlantic focus

New York ­­– December 19, 2016 – Cooley is expanding its global life sciences capabilities with the arrival of preeminent life sciences partners Jeffrey Libson, Geoffrey Starr and Manya Deehr. Libson and Starr join from Pepper Hamilton and Deehr joins from Life Sciences Law Group, where she was a founder and principal. The team brings decades of experience working with market-leading and innovative life sciences companies, entrepreneurs and investors. Their work focuses on the life sciences hubs of New Jersey and Philadelphia and throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

"This is a momentous time for Cooley as we continue to grow our life sciences footprint and add further East Coast strengths to our dominant global practice," said Barbara Kosacz, global chair of Cooley’s life sciences practice. "We’ve been expanding our capabilities within our life sciences group in areas including IP, regulatory and M&A. We are committed to our clients’ success throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and we expect this growth to continue in the coming months."

Cooley has long been active in the Mid-Atlantic region, including advising on more than a dozen public offerings since 2015 for companies like Aclaris Therapeutics, AveXis, Egalet, Eagle Pharmaceuticals, Tabula Rasa and Trevena. The firm is also active in strategic partnering and M&A transactions, including for companies like Everyday Health. Cooley’s healthcare & life sciences regulatory group counsels on an extensive scope of regulatory issues and defends companies in regulatory investigations.

"Our team could not be more excited to make the move to Cooley," Libson said. "Cooley’s superb reputation in life sciences was an easy draw for us, and we’re confident that our team will be an asset to an already exceptional group of lawyers."

"This move is about matching our deep knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic life sciences space with the powerful national and global platforms that Cooley offers in this field," Deehr added. "The potential is enormous."

Libson, former chair of his previous firm’s life sciences group, focuses his practice on venture financing, securities law, M&A, corporate governance and strategic transactions. He acts as general counsel to a variety of public and private life sciences companies as well as several leading nonprofits that support and serve the life sciences community. He has also worked with issuers and investment banks in public offerings and private placements of equity and debt securities. Libson has represented companies across the life sciences industry, including in the biotech, medtech, diagnostics, pharmaceutical, healthcare and digital health sectors.

Starr represents publicly held and private companies in a wide variety of matters, including debt, equity and other capital-raising transactions, sophisticated cross-border M&A and other strategic transactions. His clients include national and international private equity sponsors and venture capital funds as well as emerging growth companies and entrepreneurs in the life sciences and technology sectors, including digital health and data analytics. Working on the full range of the corporate life cycle, Starr currently serves as outside general counsel to a variety of innovative and emerging companies.

Deehr works with life sciences companies on a variety of matters, including complex strategic transactions, product launch and commercialization support, product and company acquisitions, divestitures and evolving strategies for proprietary positioning to optimize asset value. Having worked as chief legal officer and compliance officer for a variety of companies as well as having served as a partner and member of the life sciences steering committee for a major law firm, Deehr is one the most trusted and experienced lawyers in the industry.

"We work with some of the most innovative and active companies in the life sciences space, so it is important we continue to enhance our group and provide top-tier counsel for every step of a company’s success," said Mike Tuscan, partner in charge of Cooley's Washington, DC office and former co-chair of the firm’s patent counseling and prosecution group. "We’re excited to leverage these partners’ extensive accomplishments to strengthen our life sciences practice, particularly in this thriving Mid-Atlantic region."

Nationally, Cooley is #1 in global biotech and pharma licensing transactions 2010 – 2015; #1 in issuer-side life sciences and healthcare IPOs since 2000; #1 in life sciences venture financings 2013 – 2015; and #1 for biotech and pharma M&A transactions in 2015. Cooley also has the #1 largest life sciences patent team of any law firm in the United States. The firm is #1 for issuer-side life sciences IPOs per IPO Vital Signs and has helped emerging life sciences companies raise $3+ billion in venture financings in the past two years.

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