Orrick Expands Life Sciences with Schulman Hire From Dechert

Jan. 25, 2021, 11:01 AM

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe is expanding its life sciences group with the addition of David Schulman, who co-led the same practice area for Dechert.

Schulman has advised Celgene Corp., Ferring Pharmaceuticals SA, Adocia SAS and Pfizer Inc., among others, on transactions. He recently took the lead on BioAtla Inc.’s $72 million series D financing.

“We’re obviously attracted to David, just given his prominence and excellent reputation in the market as just being a top-tier practitioner,” said Matthew Gemello, head of Orrick’s global corporate practice.

The hire advances Orrick’s priority of building out the life sciences practice. In 2019, it brought on Ropes & Gray cybersecurity and privacy partners Doug Meal and Heather Egan Sussman, as well as litigators Michelle Visser and Seth Harrington, to open an office in Boston, a hub for life science activity.

Life sciences practices are one of the areas that Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group expects to see high levels of growth in the new year. Globally, biotech companies raised more than $25 billion through initial public offerings last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, which is nearly twice the amount raised the year prior.

Sidley Austin recently bolstered its life sciences group with the addition of two partners from Hogan Lovells, including practice co-leader Asher Rubin.

Schulman’s work at the intersection of technology and life science is “right in the sweet spot of where we play,” Orrick’s Gemello said. “He brings a number of important client relationships with him, but really he adds to a talent base that we’re growing.”

Schulman began his career at Dechert over 30 years ago and advises public and privately-held pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, their financial sponsors and other technology-based companies. His work includes mergers, acquisitions, collaborations, strategic alliances, licenses, capital markets and other financings.

In 2019 he worked on BioAtla’s collaboration with BeiGene Ltd. for the development and commercialization of cancer treatment drugs. He also helped Valneva SE in its work with Pfizer to develop the Lyme disease vaccine.

Schulman said he spoke with Gemello and Orrick’s chair, Mitch Zuklie, about their strategy.

“They’re making a commitment to build the ecosphere for biotechs and pharmas, and I’m one of those deal lawyers who works for both,” he said.

Gemello, who joined Orrick in early 2019 from Baker McKenzie where he chaired the firm’s North America corporate and securities practice, said there’s been a huge amount of public and private capital being pumped into life sciences businesses.

“We had established that as a strategic priority a couple of years ago, and in a sense, the last 14 months have just turbo charged the need for that growth,” he said.

Orrick has also added Gunderson Dettmer life science partners Gregg Griner and Albert Vanderlaan, the former general counsel of Velocity Sciences Shana Solomon. Other hires include corporate partner Ed Lukins and capital markets partner Edward Dyson from Cooley in London, as well as Stephen Thau, former co-chair of Morrison & Foerster’s life sciences group, in New York.

Orrick isn’t the only firm expanding its practice. Sidley Austin is adding to its life sciences ranks last week bringing on Asher Rubin, who co-leads Hogan Lovells’ global life sciences industry practice, and life sciences partner Adriana Tibbitts.

Schulman’s move to Orrick was brokered by Sabina Lippman of global recruitment firm Lippman Jungers Bala.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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