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Sun Pharma Raids Covid-19 Antibody Outfit for General Counsel

May 13, 2020, 9:30 AM

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., a large generic drug manufacturer founded and controlled by Indian billionaire Dilip Shanghvi, has recruited a new general counsel from Roivant Sciences Ltd.

Erik Zwicker, the new in-house legal chief at Mumbai-based Sun Pharma, spent the past year as acting general counsel and head of legal at Roivant, which was founded in 2014 by CEO Vivek Ramaswamy, a Yale Law School graduate and former hedge fund manager.

Roivant is currently working on a potential antibody treatment for Covid-19. The company, which is backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., elevated Zwicker to interim legal head in June 2019 following the departure of general counsel Allen Waxman, who became president and CEO of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, a New York-based nonprofit.

Zwicker, who worked out of the Basel, Switzerland-based Roivant’s New York office since 2017, told Bloomberg Law in an email that he officially became general counsel April 13 for Sun Pharma and its Israeli subsidiary Taro Pharmaceutical Industries.

He now works out of Sun Pharma’s office in Princeton, N.J., alongside former Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo special counsel Jennifer Dereka, who joined the company’s U.S. operation earlier this year as an associate director in its intellectual property department.

Zwicker, whose hire had not yet been publicly announced, succeeds former Sun Pharma and Taro general counsel Stephen Manzano, who spent a half-dozen years as legal chief for both companies. During that time, the law firms Venable, Clark Hill, and Baker Botts picked up nearly 50% of the U.S. litigation caseload for Sun Pharma and over 68% for Taro, according to Bloomberg Law data.

Both generic drug makers generate a large volume of litigation work involving other pharmaceutical companies. In January, Manzano left Sun Pharma and Taro to join Bridgewater Township, N.J.-based Amneal Pharmaceuticals Inc. as general counsel and corporate secretary, replacing David Buchen.

Roivant’s New Recruit

Prior to joining Roivant, Zwicker spent almost three years as deputy chief governance officer and associate general counsel at Bridgewater Associates LP, the Westport, Conn.-based investment management giant founded by hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio.

Roivant has now turned to another former hedge fund lawyer, Jo Chen, to take over from Zwicker.

Chen said in an email that he was hired prior to Zwicker’s departure. Chen took the general counsel job March 2 at Roivant after leaving his role as general counsel, chief compliance officer, and managing director at Chicago-based hedge fund JHL Capital Group LLC, where he spent nearly four years as legal chief. At the time, Zwicker had not announced his plans to leave Roivant.

Chen told Bloomberg Law he was “grateful to Erik for having ably shepherded the legal department” during the time between his recent arrival and Waxman’s exit last year.

Like Roivant’s founder Ramaswamy, Chen is a Yale Law School graduate. He began his legal career as an associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, leaving the firm in 2007 to go in-house at hedge fund D.E. Shaw & Co. LP, where Chen spent three years before becoming head trading counsel at private investment firm Bain Capital LP. He left Bain for the top legal role at JHL Capital in 2016.

Chen’s recent hire by the privately held Roivant had not been publicly announced.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com

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