Life Sciences & Healthcare

William Fry is recognised internationally as a leading advisor to the Life Sciences and Healthcare sectors.

Against a backdrop of increasingly complex regulatory regimes and an understanding that timely on-target advice is critical, our multi-disciplinary team of lawyers assists our clients in gaining and maintaining a competitive edge.

Explore our areas of expertise: 



Our Life Sciences and Healthcare team is privileged to work with: 

  • start-ups;
  • the world’s largest pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies including GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly and Edwards Lifesciences;
  • finance providers/venture capital investors;
  • healthcare providers, pharmacies, health insurers and related professionals; and
  • government agencies; and academic institutions.

Our range of services spans the entire development cycle of life science companies and their products. We advise on mergers and acquisitions, commercial transactions (including licensing and collaborations), IP (contentious and non-contentious), capital markets and finance, taxation and dispute resolution and every phase of a product's life cycle from product development, clinical trials, regulatory approval to commercialisation, infringement disputes and product safety/recall/liability. 

We are recognised by the major global directories as a top-tier Life Sciences firm.  


Examples of recent matters on which we have acted include advising:

Intellectual Property & Product Liability Litigation /Regulatory

  • Genentech in its Commercial Court SPC patent infringement proceedings against Amgen in respect of an anti-VEGF antibody used in the treatment of cancer. 
  • Eli Lilly in complex Commercial Court patent revocation proceedings in respect of a patent owned by Eisai Pharmaceuticals relating to the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease, 
  • GlaxoSmithKline in Commercial Court patent infringement proceedings against Pfizer and in defence of Pfizer's counterclaim for invalidity, relating to GSK's MenB vaccine technology and their MenB vaccine, BEXERO.  
  • Boehringer Ingelheim in its defence of two sets of Commercial Court proceedings brought by Teva Pharmaceuticals seeking the revocation of a Boehringer Ingelheim patent and an SPC relating to Boehringer Ingelheim’s bestselling respiratory pharmaceutical product, SPIRIVA.
  • MSD Corp. in the defence of Irish Commercial Court patent infringement proceedings brought by Bristol-Myers Squibb/Ono Pharmaceuticals / Tasuko Honjo relating to anti-PD-1 antibodies in the treatment of cancer and MSD's product, KEYTRUDA.
  • GlaxoSmithKline in its trade mark and passing off action against Rowex Limited and related companies involving the Seretide Inhaler, one of the all-time best-selling prescription drugs.
  • ResMed relating to its range of cloud-connectable medical devices for the treatment of sleep apnoea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other respiratory conditions.

Corporate / M&A & Inward Investment / FDI / Tax

  • Sublimity Therapeutics on ongoing fundraising and general corporate and regulatory matters in relation to creating new therapies in gastrointestinal and immunological diseases.
  • AbbVie / Allergan Acquisition on applicable provisions of the Irish Takeover Rules, and other relevant corporate and takeover law, to a significant shareholder of Allergan plc, in the context of AbbVie's c.$60 billion takeover of Allergan by scheme of arrangement under Ireland's Companies Act 2014.
  • Life Sciences Partners, the leading European life-sciences venture investor, on a series of equity investments in several promising Irish MedTech companies, including Atlantic Therapeutics (focused on the development of products for pelvic floor strengthening and nerve stimulation), Vivasure Medical (specialising in arterial and venous closure devices) and OneProjects Design Innovation (developing a connected platform technology to revolutionise the treatment of atrial fibrillation and cardiac arrhythmias).
  • Uniphar PLC, one of two full line pharmaceutical wholesalers operating in the Irish market, on its €150m IPO and admission to the Euronext Growth and AIM markets of Euronext Dublin and the London Stock Exchange.
  • Edwards Lifesciences on corporate, tax structuring, construction, planning, employment and regulatory issues in relation to the establishment of new facilities in Ireland.   

Improved Access to Affordable Medicines - EU Proposes Radical Action

EU Commission releases its Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe, marking the first step in its proposed overhaul of the pharma regulatory framework.

Launch of our Medical Device Publication

William Fry are delighted to launch our MDR/IVDR publication. To assist medical device companies navigate the new MDR & IVDR regulatory regime we have published under one roof the Regulations with easy access to the annexes and a table of equivalence comparing key articles from the MDD/AIMD & IVDD with the MDR & IVDR.

Low Rate of Notified Body Designations under MDR and IVDR Causes Bottleneck Concerns for the European MedTech Industry

Continuing our series of publications, in this briefing we explore which EU Notified Bodies have been designated under the new Medical Devices and In-Vitro Devices Regulations, and the slow pace of approval despite increased demand for their services.

Regulatory Flexibility - Key Measures to Support Availability of Medicines and Medical Devices During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled the healthcare and life sciences industries into uncharted territory. We explore the flexibility of regulators at a national and European level enabling accelerated approval of pharmaceuticals and medical devices so that demand emanating from this global health crisis can be met.

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.

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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

Laura Scott Partner

Mark Quealy Partner

Fiona Barry Partner

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