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Sidley Snags Hogan Lovells Life Sciences Practice Leader Rubin

Jan. 22, 2021, 1:45 PM

Hogan Lovells partner Asher Rubin, who co-leads the firm’s global life sciences industry practice, is poised to join Sidley Austin, the firm confirmed.

Adriana Tibbitts, a Hogan Lovells life sciences partner, will also make the move.

The hires represent a major coup for Sidley’s life sciences group, which Big Law firms are clamoring to develop as a source of growth in a competitive market.

Industry sources said Rubin has an eight-figure book of business, having represented clients including Exact Sciences Corp., Galera Therapeutics Inc., and NextCure Inc., among others. He represents life sciences and pharmaceutical companies in major financing and corporate transactions.

Sidley’s life sciences practice includes roughly 200 lawyers who advise drug and medical device makers on regulatory, compliance, enforcement, litigation, and transactional matters.

Life sciences practices are one of the few groups that Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group projects to see high levels of growth in 2021. Citi, which provides banking services to big firms, singled out life sciences, healthcare, private equity, and financial services as practice areas primed for strong growth in a report earlier this year.

Biotechnology companies globally raised more than $25 billion through initial public offerings last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That is nearly twice the amount raised a year earlier, highlighting the excitement the industry has generated, in part by developing vaccines to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

“The generation of multiple vaccines within the course of a year is just one reflection of the amazing scientific developments that are driving innovation in the industry,” Paul Kalb, global leader of Sidley’s healthcare and FDA group, said in an interview. “That innovation requires capital, and it requires collaboration. And all of that in turn drives the demand for sophisticated transactional services. And that is precisely the kind of work that Asher and Adriana do.”

Rubin didn’t return a voicemail seeking comment on the move.

Hogan Lovells thanked Rubin for his “important contributions” in a statement provided to Bloomberg Law. The firm said partners Steve Abrams, Lynn Mehler, and Jane Summerfield will continue to lead its life sciences & health care sector group, featuring some 500 lawyers.

Growing Group

Sidley in May hired Palo Alto-based partner Frank Rahmani from Cooley. This fall, he led Sidley teams advising on initial public offerings for Outset Medical Inc. and Biodesix Inc., which together raised $350 million. The firm earlier this month hired transactional partners Idan Netser and Andrew Harper from Fenwick & West in Palo Alto.

A former Miles & Stockbridge associate, Rubin joined Hogan Lovells in 2006 as a partner after serving as senior vice president and general counsel at Guilford Pharmaceuticals. He became the global of head of the firm’s life sciences group in 2010, and earlier this month he was tapped to lead the firm’s health and lifestyle sector group.

He has spent 20 years working in the industry and advised companies on technologies including ultra-orphan drugs, gene therapies, CAR-T therapies, and co-stimulatory proteins.

Tibbitts made partner at Hogan Lovells last year and represents life sciences industry clients in transactional matters.

Rubin also represents private and publicly traded businesses, academic medical centers, inventors and venture capital and private equity funds.

Sharon Flanagan, Sidley’s San Francisco office managing partner, said the firm views life sciences transactions as a “key, strategic priority” and will continue to grow in the area. She said the firm’s practice represents “innovators” ranging from early-stage companies to the largest pharmaceutical firms.

“Asher and Adriana have years of experience across the full spectrum of life sciences transactions, so we couldn’t be more thrilled to have them joining our team,” said Flanagan, who is also part of Sidley’s global life sciences leadership.

Hogan Lovells and Sidley are both global firms with more than $2 billion in revenue in 2019, according to the most recent AmLaw data. Sidley’s average profits per equity partner were $2.8 million compared to $1.5 million at Hogan Lovells.

Both Hogan Lovells and Sidley’s life sciences practices are ranked “Band 2” by Chambers and Partners, which ranks law firm practices based on surveys and interviews with lawyers and clients. The rating is equivalent to one of the nine best practices in the U.S.

Rubin is also individually ranked by Chambers and Partners as a top lawyer for corporate and commercial work in the life sciences industry.

Divya Bala of global legal recruitment firm Lippman Jungers Bala brokered Rubin’s move to Sidley.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at rstrom@bloomberglaw.com; Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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