Life Sciences

The William Fry Life Sciences team provides advice to some of the world's leading Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Medical Device companies located in Ireland. As a full service law firm, we provide expert advice on a range of issues including patent infringement litigation, intellectual property protection and exploitation, corporate and regulatory issues.

We represent clients across the spectrum, from multi-national, globally established firms to indigenous start-ups in every phase of the growth cycle. We understand the Life Sciences sector and actively engage with the sector through our involvement with industry associations.

William Fry provides access to specialists with industry knowledge in contentious and non-contentious Life Sciences matters. Our Life Sciences team combines our top-ranking intellectual property and litigation lawyers with our highly regarded corporate and regulatory specialists.

Areas on which we advise include:

  • Intellectual property protection and exploitation, including advice on patent law infringement and invalidity 
  • Early-stage and university campus spin-out companies in the context of R&D or collaboration arrangements, or supply, manufacturing or sponsored research matters
  • Product liability and product recall issues
  • Regulatory advice on the research, manufacture, labelling, advertising, marketing and distribution of pharmaceuticals, biotech and related products
  • Corporate and tax structuring 
  • Funding raising and grants, including venture capital and IPOs 
  • Environmental law, waste management and health & safety

We provide on going advices on a confidential basis to some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical and healthcare providers. Our experience includes advices to:

  • BioMarin Pharmaceuticals Inc on its agreement to buy a bulk biologics manufacturing plant from Pfizer for US$48.5m
  • The Sodexo Group on the purchase of a majority interest in Zehnacker Ireland Holdings Limited which will trade as Sodexo Zehnecker Healthcare
  • BiancaMed on its sale to ResMed, and on an on-going basis,  in the commercial exploitation of its patents with strategic partners including negotiating agreements with Omron Healthcare, a Japanese leader in healthcare solutions, Dorel Inc., one of the leading providers of healthcare solutions in the United States and iRhythm a leading international player in the cardiac rhythm monitoring sector
  • Olympus Corporation in the sale of its worldwide diagnostic systems business to biomedical test products maker, Beckman Coulter Inc, for a consideration of approximately €630 million. This was a multi-jurisdictional transaction that involved a complex pre-sale hive down restructuring
  • Trinity Biotech plc on the €66m sale of its diagnostic coagulation business to Stago International S.A.S.
  • Labcoat Limited, a development-stage drug-eluting stent technology company located in Galway, in relation to the acquisition of it by Boston Scientific Limited
  • Medfiq Healthcare Corporation in the acquisition of Medisize Medical (a division of the Swiss based Medisize Holding AG) a leading developer, manufacturer and distributor of dental consumables for a purchase price of €65m
  • Ovation Pharmaceuticals Inc as Irish counsel in relation to its acquisition by H. Lundbeck A/S for consideration of up to US$900m
  • Astra Zeneca on the successful conclusion of the defence of its patent protecting its best-selling drug Nexium
  • Opsona Therapeutics on all commercial and funding matters relating to Opsona’s clinical development of lead drug candidate OPN-305 EU FP7 Project
  • Grunenthal Pharma, the German research-based pharmaceutical company, on a distribution agreement for pharma products
  • Millipore Corporation in connection with its €53bn global takeover by Merck KGaA
  • Millipore Corporation and Integra Life Sciences as lead Irish counsel advising each of them on all aspects of their legal requirements including corporate restructuring, licensing, commercial, intellectual property and tax advice
  • EirGen Pharma Limited in respect of ongoing commercial and patent advice
  • Crospon Limited on an innovative mix of high tech and biotech to produce an industry first skin patch that acts as a “smart” drug delivery device. This transaction between a smaller Irish medical device company and an IT industry giant has attracted significant international industry and media interest
  • Pfizer (Warner Lambert, a wholly-owned company of Pfizer) in its successful defence of its Lipitor patents, blocking generic production of its product until expiry. Lipitor is the world’s largest selling anti-cholesterol drug, which generates annual worldwide sales of €7.7bn.

Act Now to be Ready on Time – Guide to New Classification Rules for In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices

Continuing our series of publications, we outline the key changes to the classification of in vitro diagnostic medical devices in advance of the In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices Regulation (EU) 2017/746 (IVDR) becoming fully applicable on 26 May 2022.

Medical Devices – New Classification Rules – Is your Business Ready?

A guide to the classification of devices under the new Medical Devices Regulation

COVID-19 and an Overview of Contact Tracing Apps Across Europe

Contact tracing apps appear to be one of the various technological companions for progressive deconfinement for countries and organisations. However, approaches to such apps diverge, we discuss the various approaches in this article.

The Unified Patent Court – An Idea Worth Protecting?

Following the German Federal Constitutional Court's finding that German legislation ratifying the UPC was invalid, stakeholders are questioning whether this signals the death knell for the court's establishment or if enough support remains for its survival.

The Patent Litigation Law Review: Ireland

William Fry have written the Irish chapter for the inaugural edition of 'The Patent Litigation Law Review'

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"William Fry was instrumental in guiding us through all aspects of the complex transaction and due diligence. The expertise include Irish law, government contracting, tax, property, bank restructurings, real estate/leasing as well as general advice on the Irish business culture….Overall, the service provided by William Fry was excellent. At all times they approached matters with professionalism and with UPMC’s best interest……Our business objective was successfully completed. It would have been impossible without the counsel of William Fry. It was well worth the investment spend…..Excellent advisor to contracting matters with the Irish government.”

David Farner, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff, UPMC


  • Sources laud the team's "strategic thinking" in complex cross-border disputes, going on to say: "The firm is very efficient and has a lot of depth of talent." Another client adds that "the lawyers find practical solutions to complex and sensitive legal problems." Chambers Europe 2020
  • One client describes the lawyers as "incredibly responsive" and "very easy to deal with" adding that they provide "succinct and well-delivered advice". Chambers Europe 2019
  • One client admires the "width and depth of expertise within the firm" and lauds the department as a "strong practice that understands the minutiae of the life sciences sector." Sources appreciate the "first-rate access and availability" of the team and describe its advice as "considered, pragmatic and clear." Chambers Europe, 2017


Carol Plunkett

  • Clients describe Carol as a "brilliant lawyer" and "leading practitioner."  Chambers Europe 2020
  • Carol is "rated highly in terms of competence, experience, knowledge and judgement". One client notes that they have worked with Carol "on a number of cases in the last 12 months ranging from SPC validity proceedings to copyright." They add that they "are awaiting judgment in one case where I expected we would lose at the proofs stage but now believe that we will likely win because of the work put in by the team. On the IP side I would rate Fry as the leading firm in Ireland." Legal 500 2020
  • Carol is lauded as "an intellectual property law giant,"and is reputed for her long-standing experience in the market. Sources highlight her "well-deserved reputation for handling commercial litigation before the Irish courts, based on years of experience." Chambers Europe 2019
  • Carol Plunkett receives plaudits from a range of sources for her expert IP litigation practice. Market sources label her as "terrific" and "one of the best IP litigators" in the market, with one highlighting the "depth of knowledge" she offers. Chambers Europe 2018
  • Carol is an "excellent IP litigation strategist". Legal 500 EMEA 2018 
  • Carol enjoys strong feedback for her expertise and prowess in contentious IP cases, as well as litigious proceedings involving the technology sector. One interviewee calls her "a real heavyweight" and "one of the most senior litigators in Ireland," adding: "Nothing fazes her, so that is reassuring for the client." Chambers Europe 2017
  • Carol  has ‘an amazing IP knowledge base’. Legal 500 EMEA 2017
  • Carol, who heads the firm's contentious IP practice, is highlighted by market commentators as an "extremely accomplished lawyer" and "a leader in IP litigation."  Chambers Europe 2016

Laura Scott

  • Laura has been described as an "expert in all areas of IP." One client reports they have worked with Laura "on a number of cases in the last 12 months ranging from SPC validity proceedings to copyright. We are awaiting judgment in one case where I expected we would lose at the proofs stage but now believe that we will likely win because of the work put in by the team. On the IP side I would rate Fry as the leading firm in Ireland." Another client adds that Laura "stands out for her technical know-how and is an excellent drafter." Legal 500 2020
  • Laura has been ranked in IP Stars 2019 as one of the Top 250 Women in IPglobally.  
  • Laura Scott  is a highly respected IP practitioner with significant expertise in patent litigation. Sources praise her client-oriented approach, highlighting her "commitment and attention to detail" and adding that "she's a pleasure to deal with." Chambers Europe 2019
  • "Outstanding and a real pleasure to work with...Laura is a highly experienced litigator with intimate knowledge of all areas of intellectual property."  WTR1000 2019
  • “She is calm under pressure and has a depth of knowledge and experience which inspires confidence in her clients,” observes one source. Chambers Europe 2018
  • Laura is "on top of the technical detail...strategic and practical" and is praised for her "attention to detail and drafting skills". Legal 500 EMEA 2018 
  • Laura Scott receives plaudits for her trade mark and patent litigation practice, with particular knowledge of the pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors. Clients say: "She is very hard-working, responsive and dedicated to leaving no stone unturned in considering and communicating all available options. She is also extremely pleasant to work with." Chambers Europe 2017
  • Laura Scott has the ‘Midas touch with clients’. Legal 500 EMEA 2017

Fiona Barry

  • According to Chambers Europe 2020, clients appreciate that Fiona Barry is "very careful and thorough," while market commentators highlight her ability to "efficiently find her way to the core of the case." Another clients add that Fiona is "very timely and clear in her advice."
  • Sources say Fiona Barry is "knowledgeable, practical, clear, concise and not afraid to express an opinion." She is widely esteemed for her contentious experience, including acting on defamation suits. One source says: "She is excellent: confident, careful and easy to get on with."  Chambers Europe 2019
  • Fiona is particularly noted for her work on matters related to medical negligence and for acting for insurance companies on personal injury claims and is well regarded by market commentators for her media expertise. Chambers Europe 2018 
  • Fiona Barry is "straightforward and clear". Legal 500 EMEA 2018
  • According to Chambers Global 2017, Fiona holds a commanding position in the medical negligence and healthcare litigation sphere, including regulatory and insurance matters where clients praise her as being "responsive, knowledgeable and pleasant." 
  • Fiona Barry is ‘responsive, calm and considered’. Legal 500 EMEA 2016

Key Contacts

David Cullen Partner

Laura Scott Partner