For more than four decades, Fenwick & West LLP has helped some of the world’s most recognized companies become, and remain, market leaders. From emerging enterprises to large public corporations, our clients are leaders in the technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors and are fundamentally changing the world through rapid innovation.  MORE >

Fenwick & West was founded in 1972 in the heart of Silicon Valley—before “Silicon Valley” existed—by four visionary lawyers who left a top-tier New York law firm to pursue their shared belief that technology would revolutionize the business world and to pioneer the legal work for those technological innovations. In order to be most effective, they decided they needed to move to a location close to primary research and technology development. These four attorneys opened their first office in downtown Palo Alto, and Fenwick became one of the first technology law firms in the world.  MORE >

From our founding in 1972, Fenwick has been committed to promoting diversity and inclusion both within our firm and throughout the legal profession. For almost four decades, the firm has actively promoted an open and inclusive work environment and committed significant resources towards improving our diversity efforts at every level.  MORE >

At Fenwick, we are proud of our commitment to the community and to our culture of making a difference in the lives of individuals and organizations in the communities where we live and work. We recognize that providing legal services is not only an essential part of our professional responsibility, but also an excellent opportunity for our attorneys to gain valuable practical experience, learn new areas of the law and contribute to the community.  MORE >

Year after year, Fenwick & West is honored for excellence in the legal profession. Many of our attorneys are recognized as leaders in their respective fields, and our Corporate, Tax, Litigation and Intellectual Property Practice Groups consistently receive top national and international rankings, including:

  • Nearly 15 percent of Fenwick partners named America's Leading Lawyers for Business by Chambers USA and Chambers Global
  • Selected as a "Go-To" law firm by in-house legal departments at Fortune 500 companies in Corporate Counsel magazine
  • Named to The National Law Journal's inaugural "Intellectual Property Hot List" for outstanding patent, copyright, trademark and IP litigation services


We take sustainability very seriously at Fenwick. Like many of our clients, we are adopting policies that reduce consumption and waste, and improve efficiency. By using technologies developed by a number of our cleantech clients, we are at the forefront of implementing sustainable policies and practices that minimize environmental impact. In fact, Fenwick has earned recognition in several areas as one of the top US law firms for implementing sustainable business practices.  MORE >

At Fenwick, we have a passion for excellence and innovation that mirrors our client base. Our firm is making revolutionary changes to the practice of law through substantial investments in proprietary technology tools and processes—allowing us to deliver best-in-class legal services more effectively.   MORE >

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Silicon Valley Center
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Mountain View, CA 94041

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San Francisco, CA 94104

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Life Sciences

Fenwick & West Life Sciences Group

For 40 years, the Fenwick & West Life Sciences Group has been partnering with innovators who, through their discoveries and developments, seek to fundamentally change the quality of life for millions of people around the globe. The individuals behind such breakthroughs have legal considerations that can be as unprecedented as their products and services. Fenwick attorneys have earned the position as trusted, strategic advisors supporting these organizations. The Life Sciences Group has the deep expertise necessary to effectively guide and protect the paradigm-shifting companies leading the industry.

The Fenwick & West Life Sciences Group is comprised of 60 attorneys, patent agents and scientific advisors whose particular strengths cover the legal needs of both emerging and established companies. Over 30 members of the group have hands-on research experience and advanced degrees, including 16 Ph.D.s from prestigious universities in the areas of immunology, chemistry, biology/CMB, genetics, electrical and mechanical engineering.

Recently, Fenwick’s Life Sciences Group launched its Life Sciences Legal Insights blog, providing insight and analysis on important legal issues affecting life sciences, mHealth, digital heath and healthcare IT.

Fenwick attorneys have deep ties to some of the most active life sciences investors, and we employ a systemized approach to introducing our clients to these investors based upon the company’s technology, stage of development and goals for growth.

Beyond delivering the high-quality legal services that every life sciences enterprise requires to flourish, Fenwick attorneys build lasting relationships with their clients by committing to act as partners in the business, helping to develop strategies and promoting communication, transparency and trust.

Why Life Sciences Companies Choose Fenwick

We Understand the Business and Science Behind Our Clients
Many of our practitioners have prior careers working in-house as researchers or executives, enabling them to predict and effectively respond to the nuances of the technical and legal issues that companies in this industry face.

We Are Proactive and Innovative– As Attorneys and Business Partners
As trusted legal advisors, we take on the responsibility of trying to predict what our clients will likely face in their future, and we advise our clients accordingly. Our attorneys are active in the business community, serving on committees of the SEC and some of the nation’s top research institutions. Within the legal industry, Fenwick spear-headed the move towards offering clients alternative fee arrangements, and the firm earned significant recognition in the media for its flat fee agreement with Cisco Systems, which was an emerging concept at the time. We understand the financial constraints new and established businesses face, which is why we offer a menu of alternative fee arrangements as well as initial client meetings, at no charge, to learn about the client’s history, technology and services, establish team roles, determine communication preferences and confirm reporting and billing requirements. We continue with ongoing meetings, at no charge, to ensure we are current with the client’s business strategy and goals and that we continue to meet management’s needs and expectations. We are proactive in bringing business opportunities to our clients that will enhance their profiles, whether it be through institutional funding recommendations, media outreach or award nominations.

We Have a Stake in the Success of Life Sciences and Our Clients' Positions in this Industry
As the law firm chosen to advise SonoSite on its $995 million sale to FujiFilm in 2012, Fenwick is humbled by the success its clients have had and the ways in which their technologies have impacted the world. As they have in different stages and in different times throughout history, science and technology are converging in a way that will forever change the way individuals manage their personal health, and Fenwick attorneys are poised to guide these cutting edge healthcare companies through the maze created by the complex legal issues they face. The firm’s expertise in the software, hardware, communications and Internet sectors combined with its experience in the healthcare, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and bioinformatics sectors equip its team members with the knowledge necessary to effectively advise these new-age life sciences companies. Many of our attorneys serve on the Boards of Directors of leading West Coast industry organizations, such as BayBio and the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association. The Life Sciences Group members also teach courses on corporate and patent law at local universities to students on both legal and scientific paths. In addition, Fenwick offers and encourages its attorneys and staff to participate in training to advance their own scientific knowledge and understanding of trends and shifts in the industry.

The Fenwick & West Life Sciences Group members are a team, motivated by each other and the work that we are doing to help our cutting edge clients reach their fullest potential.

Representative Clients

A representative sample of our past and current clients includes:

Currently represent over 100 therapeutics companies, including:AC Immune
Acucela, Inc.
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Halozyme Therapeutics
OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Resolve Therapeutics
ViroPharma Incorporated

Currently represent over 40 companies specializing in diagnostics, including:
Adaptive Biotechnologies
CardioDx, Inc.
diaDexus, Inc.
Natus Medical
OncoHealth Corporation
ZyGEM Corporation

Medical Devices
Currently represent over 60 medical device companies, including:
Cardiac Dimensions, Inc.
DexCom, Inc.
ForteBio, Inc.
SonoSite, Inc.
The Cooper Companies
WoodWelding SA

Digital Health
Currently represent over 60 digital health companies, including:
California Regional Health Information Organization
Castlight Health
PolyRemedy, Inc.
Sano Intelligence

Industrial Biotech
Currently represent 15 industrial biotechnology companies, including:
Amyris, Inc.
Bio Architecture Labs
Genencor International
Joule Technologies, Inc.
Mendel Biotechnology
Novozymes North America

Academic & Research
Currently represent over 30 academic and research institutions on their life sciences matters, including:
Emory University
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Oregon Health & Sciences University
The Scripps Research Institute
University of Washington
Vanderbilt University

Currently represent over 15 companies specializing in bioinformatics, including:
Complete Genomics
DNAnexus, Inc.
Hecht-Nielsen Confabulation, Inc.
Lightspeed Genomics
Primity Bio, Inc.
Simprota Corporation

Currently advise over 20 investment funds on life sciences matters, including:
Aberdare Ventures
Clarus Ventures
Mohr Davidow
New Enterprise Associates
OrbiMed Advisors
Xseed Capital

Private/VC Backed
Currently represent 80+ VC-backed life sciences clients (and more than 400 venture capital and private equity-backed private companies across all industries), including:
Acucela, Inc.
Audentes Therapeutics
Broncus Technologies, Inc.
Cardiac Dimensions, Inc.
Castlight Health, Inc.
Corium International, Inc.
ForteBio, Inc.
Sutro Biopharma

1934 Act Reporting
Currently represent over 10 companies as outside securities counsel, including:
Amyris, Inc.
DexCom, Inc.
Natus Medical, Inc.
OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Oncothyreon, Inc.
Solta Medical, Inc.

Currently advise over 20 life sciences companies with mergers and acquisitions matters, including
Agilent Technologies
Natus Medical, Inc.
Solta Medical, Inc.
SonoSite, Inc.
Theraclone Sciences

Currently represent over 130 life sciences patent clients, including:
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
APT Pharmaceuticals
CadioDx, Inc.
ForteBio, Inc.
Moderna Therapeutics
Presidio Pharmaceuticals

Currently advise over 50 life sciences companies with their licensing needs, including:
AC Immune
DexCom, Inc.
Halozyme Therapeutics
Medicity, Inc.
Natus Medical, Inc.
Resolve Therapeutics
Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals

Currently advise over 50 life sciences companies with their trademark needs, including:
Castlight Health
McKesson Corp.
OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.Reviva Pharmaceuticals
Sano Intelligence

IP Litigation
Currently represent over 25 life sciences companies on IP litigation matters, including:
BASIS Science
Columbia University
DexCom, Inc.
Novozymes A/S

Currently advise over 30 life sciences companies on tax matters, including:
Abbott Laboratories
Carestream Health
Endo Pharmaceuticals
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International
ViroPharma Incorporated
VSP Global

Representative Transactions

Represented Theraclone Sciences in its pending merger with PharmAthene 

Represented Natus Medical in its $58M acquisition of CareFusion Nicolet 

Represented Solta Medical in its $15M public offering

Represented MEDSEEK in its acquisition by Silver Lake Sumeru and Essex Woodlands

Represented OncoGenex in its $50M public offering

Represented SonoSite in its $995M acquisition by Fujifilm Holdings Corp.

Represented Amnis in its acquisition by EMD Millipore, the Life Science division of Merck KGaA

Represented DexCom in its $60M shelf offering

Represented Natus Medical in its $150M shelf offering

Represented Medicity in its $500M acquisition by Aetna

Represented Amyris in its $84.8M initial public offering

Represented Asthmatx in its $443M acquisition by Boston Scientific

Represented ZymoGenetics in its acquisition by Bristol-Meyers Squibb

Represented ZymoGenetics in its $96M confidentially managed public offering

Represented Trubion in its $96M acquisition by Emergent BioSolutions

Represented Axolotl Corporation in its acquisition by Ingenix

Represented SonoSite in its $71M acquisition of Visualsonics

Represented LipoSonix in its $300M acquisition by Medicis Pharmaceutical

Represented Peplin in its $287.5M acquisition by LEO Pharma – the highest price ever paid for a pre-FDA approved company

Represented Connetics Corporation in its $930M acquisition by Stiefel Laboratories

Represented Ocular Sciences in its $1.2B acquisition by The Cooper Companies

Representative Patent Litigation

  • Caliper Life Sciences, Inc., Xenogen Corporation, and The Board of Trustees of Leland Stanford Junior University v. Carestream Health, Inc. Represented Stanford University in patent infringement litigation involving in vivo molecular imaging. The matter was favorably settled after the claim construction hearing.
  • Medlmmune, Inc. v. Centocor, Inc., et al. Acted as lead counsel for patent owners Stanford and Columbia Universities in a patent declaratory judgment action involving a method of manufacturing monoclonal antibodies. The matter was successfully settled following remand to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland after appeals to the Federal Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court.
  • The Laryngeal Mask Company v. Ambu A/S. Represented Ambu, a Denmark-based medical device company, in a patent dispute against its primary competitor over patents directed to laryngeal masks used in surgery. Obtained summary judgments of noninfringement and invalidity of asserted patent. Matter thereafter settled.
  • The Regents of University of California v. ev3. Represented The Regents of the University of California in enforcing the original patent portfolio covering the Guglielmi Detachable Coils, used primarily in treating brain aneurysms. The matter settled on the first day of trial, in a manner very favorable to The Regents, after a series of favorable summary judgment rulings on the defenses raised by defendant ev3.
  • Novozymes v. Danisco. Lead counsel representing Novozymes in a successful action against rival Danisco for infringement of Novozymes’ patent for an improved alpha-amylase useful for fuel ethanol production, among other industrial applications. A jury found that Danisco willfully infringed Novozymes’ patent and awarded over $18.2 million in damages.
  • Cardiac Science v. Philips Electronics. Represented plaintiff as lead counsel in a 21-patent infringement case involving cardiac defibrillators. Damages asserted by each side combined in excess of $200 million. Key victories by Cardiac Science at Markman and summary judgment led to favorable settlement hours before seven-week trial set to begin.

Representative Securities Litigation

  • Ongoing counseling to boards and management on disclosure, regulatory and litigation issues for leading life sciences companies such as Cepheid and DexCom.
  • Defense of securities class action and SEC investigation of Connetics alleging inadequate disclosure of FDA communications and pre-clinical tests, improper revenue recognition and insider trading.
  • Defense of the directors of (including John Doerr, Melinda Gates and Jeff Bezos) in a derivative action based on allegations of misrepresentations and insider trading. The case is currently pending in Washington state court.
  • Defense of shareholder litigation challenging the acquisition of Connetics by Stiefel Laboratories.
  • Defense of Sunrise Medical in SEC enforcement proceeding, shareholder class actions and derivative litigation
  • Represented Special Committee of the Affymetrix Board of Directors in federal and state derivative litigation.