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.

The Patent Litigation Law Review: Ireland

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

Ireland and the European Medicines Agency Prepare for Brexit

Ireland has set its sights on ensuring uninterrupted supply of medicines and assuming a greater role in EU regulatory activities post-Brexit.

ICO Sanctions Heralds Dawn of New Era for Data Breach Fines under GDPR

The UK data protection authority (the "ICO") has ruled that a UK hospital breached data regulations when it transferred 1.6 million patient records to a sister company of Google

European Parliament Adopts Medical Devices and In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices Regulations

European Parliament passes laws policing the standards of medical devices and In Vitro diagnostic medical devices

Regulating your Product: Borderline Medicine or a Food for a Specific Group?

Manufacturers whose products fall outside of the FSG (Food for a Specific Group) Regulation criteria are increasingly considering registration of their functional food products as "medicinal products"

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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


  • 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
  • William Fry is a 'top-class' groupThe multidisciplinary team performs strongly in M&A, medical negligence, IP and regulatory work, acting for clients such as Boston Scientific, Forest Laboratories and the Medical Protection Society. Legal 500, 2015
  • "The team's outlook is always innovative and modern. The team is always very responsive and keeps us in the loop so we know where they are and what they are doing." Chambers Europe, 2014
  • William Fry ‘consistently delivers in-depth and accurate legal advice with speed and cost-effectiveness’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2014
  • William Fry is ‘top class’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2013


  • Carol Plunkett
    • 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
    • Carol  is unanimously regarded as a "powerhouse of IP" with "a wealth of experience" in the field. Chambers Europe, 2015
    • Carol Plunkett has ‘great instincts’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Clients feel Carol "has a very good grasp of the brief and the workings of our business. She gives practical, straightforward advice."  Chambers Europe, 2014
    • You can’t mention patent litigation in Ireland without mentioning Carol Plunkett”, regarded by many as the country’s top IP lawyer.  IAM Patent 1000, 2014  
  • Laura Scott
    • 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 
    • "Her commitment to clients, astute strategy, technical strength and attention to detail are second to none." Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Clients describe Laura Scott as "absolutely superb. She is very thorough; her work underpins our company." Chambers Europe, 2014
    • Laura Scott has the ‘Midas touch with clients’Legal 500 EMEA 2017
  • Fiona Barry
    • Clients praise her as being "responsive, knowledgeable and pleasant."Chambers Global 2017
    • Fiona Barry is ‘responsive, calm and considered’. Legal 500 EMEA 2016
    • Fiona Barry is 'excellent’. Legal 500 EMEA 2015
    • Fiona Barry's practice encompasses commercial litigation, medical negligence and defamation. Clients value her input, praising her as being “receptive to our needs. She supports and assists our clients.” Chambers Europe 2013


Key Contacts

David Cullen Partner

Laura Scott Partner