Michael J. Shuster, Ph.D.

Industry Co-Chair, Life Sciences

Partner, Intellectual Property  

San Francisco | Boston 415.875.2413


Michael Shuster provides strategic intellectual property legal services to biotechnology and chemical/pharmaceutical companies. His practice includes patent prosecution, portfolio analysis, due diligence, litigation and opinion work. His clients include start-up and established biotechnology companies, venture capital firms and research universities and hospitals. He marries a deep scientific and technical background, cutting-edge legal experience and pragmatic business acumen to help his clients advance and protect highly complex crossover technologies.

Michael has legal and technical experience in immunotherapy, antibody technologies, microbiome-based technologies, ag biotechnology, biologics, gene therapy, therapeutic vaccines, synthetic biology, small molecule therapeutics and drug formulations.​

Michael’s IP due diligence evaluation and counseling are critical to his clients’ businesses in the context of raising and investing growth capital, executing strategic partnerships and M&A transactions and going public. Representative recent matters in which he served as IP lead:

  • Celenex $100 million acquisition by Amicus
  • ​Seres Therapeutics partnership with Nestle Health Sciences valued up to $1.9 billion
  • Crescendo Biosciences $270 million acquisition by Myriad Genetics
  • ProNAi Therapeutics $158 million IPO (now Sierra Oncology)
  • Seres Therapeutics $140 million IPO
  • Bolt Threads Series A and B financings raising a combined $40 million
  • Google Ventures investment in Forty Seven's $75 million Series A financing

​In 2016, Michael joined the advisory board of CalBIO, the biotech division of the California Technology Counsel. Currently, Michael is a co-instructor of "A Life Scientist's Guide to Intellectual Property" at UCSF, and regularly lectures about intellectual property law subjects. He is past chair of the Intellectual Property section of the Barrister's Club of San Francisco.

Before becoming an attorney, Michael’s career experience included graduate research in the laboratory of Professor Eric Kandel at Columbia University as part of a team focused on discovery of mechanisms by which short-term memories are stored, research for which Professor Kandel was awarded the 2000 Nobel Prize in Medicine. Michael then moved to the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, where he pursued his interests in ion channel biophysics and protein structure.

Most recently, Michael was recognized by Chambers USA in 2018 and 2017 for his skill in life sciences IP/patent litigation. He was also recognized among California’s leading patent prosecutors by IAM Patent 1000 in 2018 and 2017, with the most recent guide praising him as a “startup sage.” In 2018, The Legal 500 highlighted Michael among the United States’ leading patent prosecutors, having previously recognized him in 2014. Additionally, he was named among the Top 25 Biotech Lawyers in California in 2011 and one of the Top 25 Intellectual Property Portfolio Managers in 2009 and 2012 by the Daily Journal. He is also consistently recognized as a Life Sciences Star for his outstanding patent work in Euromoney's LMG Life Sciences guide and as an IP Star by Managing Intellectual Property, along with being repeatedly honored as a Northern California Super Lawyer.

Michael received his B.A. from Brandeis University, magna cum laude, and his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of San Francisco School of Law. Michael is registered to practice before the USPTO and is a member of the State Bar of California and Commonwealth of Massachusetts.​