Editor’s note: BioWatch is a regular feature on Fridays.Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman, a well-known area law firm, has formed a life science practice based in Raleigh.
“Our existing life sciences practice has grown to the point where the formation of a separate practice group makes sense,” says Curt Brewer, a partner in the firm’s business law department and chair of the life science practice group.
Brewer says the firm works with life sciences companies ranging from “early stage university spinouts to multinational biotech and pharmaceutical companies.” He says it also represents investors in a number of life sciences deals.
“We have developed expertise in assisting clients in a wide range of transactions, including company formation and financing, strategic partnerships, research and development collaborations, licensing and other technology transfer matters,” Brewer says.
Those clients include Curry Pharmaceuticals Corp., Novozymes North America Inc., Novo Nordisk Pharmaceutical Industries Inc., Sequoiah Inc., and Super Soil Systems USA Inc.
Brewer says start-ups coming out of regional universities and some of the large pharmaceutical companies with operations here help create the need for a special practice.
Nevertheless, he says seed stage money is still hard to come by for fledgling biotechs.
“I represent some seed stage investors,” Brewer says, “and their problem with life sciences is if they put money in the deal early, they still have to go out and find that next round. Life science companies by their nature require a longer development time. Drug discovery is a risky investment that requires a special kind of investor.”
Brewer completed Duke University’s “Biotechnology for Business Executives” program in May.
Others in the group are:
- Kent Christison, a partner in the business law department and co-chair of the firm’s entrepreneurial business and venture capital section. Christison’s practice is focused on business law, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, private equity, strategic partnerships and technology licensing.
- Grayson Hale, an associate in the business law department. Hale’s practice is focused on business law, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, securities law, strategic partnerships and technology licensing.
- Susan Jackson, an associate in the business law department focusing on intellectual property law and registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
- Robert Womble, a partner in the business law department and chair of the firm’s venture capital practice group. Womble’s practice is focused on business law, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, private equity, strategic partnerships and technology licensing.
- Benjamin Yarbrough, special counsel in the business law department. Yarbrough’s practice is focused on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, securities law, strategic partnerships and technology licensing.
Kennedy Covington is one of the largest full service law firms in the Carolinas, with offices in Charlotte, Raleigh, Research Triangle Park, Columbia and Rock Hill.
Rita Geiger on FDAnews
Rita Geiger, president and chief executive officer of Raleigh-based InfoStrength Inc., is the keynote speaker for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s audio-conference on “The Role of Audit Trails in the FDA Inspection Process” next Wednesday.
Geiger tells LTW she plans to explain the requirements the FDA defines for validating electronic records. “Scientists used to be able to make changes in their notebooks and initial them, but with new electronic record keeping, changes could be made without anyone knowing,” she explains.
Geiger will discuss how to overcome the most common audit trail issues. Geiger’s company makes software that helps biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies stay compliant with regulations and protect their intellectual property.
Geiger says so many local executives have asked her about the changes in the FDA regulations concerning audit trails that she plans to announce a local seminar on the topic later this month.
The FDAnews Website sponsored audio-conference is slated for Wednesday, June 18 from 1:30 to 2:30 PM. Register at: http://www.fdanews.com/calendar/16253.html
Kennedy Covington: http://www.kennedycovington.com