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France: Life Sciences 2016

In a similar vein to other European countries, the French government is struggling to reign in its enormous social security deficit, which includes health insurance. As a result, the country is becoming increasingly austere in its pricing and reimbursement policy, including price cuts, delisting and generic prescription incentives. France has also become one of the first countries in the world to introduce automatic substitution of biosimilars over their typically more expensive reference products. Ultimately, this places greater pressure on life sciences companies to become more cost-effective and optimise the value of their products.

This year, we have listed 34 leaders in the industry, including regulatory, transactional, IP and product liability specialists.

Véron & Associés is a very well-known 14-lawyer patent litigation boutique. It ranks highly in our research with four listings, while respondents also highlight the impressive makeup of its entire team. Founder Pierre Véron is “a celebrated patent litigator” and extremely well versed in the life sciences industry. Isabelle Romet impresses clients with her “clear sense of strategy” and her “command of complex technical matters” in patent validity and infringement cases. Thomas Bouvet and Sabine Agé are also praised for their skilful and effective handling of pharmaceutical and biotech patent validity and infringement proceedings. 

Dentons is the leading firm in our research for France-based representation in cross-border transactions in the life sciences sector. The Paris office also has a prominent regulatory and compliance practice for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Jean-Marc Grosperrin co-heads the firm’s European life sciences groups with a focus on cross-border corporate transactions. Respondents appreciated his “superior commercial and legal awareness of the industry”. Anne-Laure Marcerou is recommended as a “leading figure” and “a go to lawyer in France” for regulatory, commercial and corporate matters. François Vignaud is a senior counsel specialised in corporate, commercial and regulatory matters for life sciences companies. In particular, he is mandated to act on cross-border M&A and joint venture transactions in the industry. Peers comment that his experience and knowledge is “unquestionably first-rate”. Pascale Poupelin’s “excellent” practice stems from her extensive experience of public law in the healthcare industry and she has advised a number of pharmaceutical companies on regulatory and compliance matters.

Hogan Lovells is a world leader in the life sciences industry and the firm’s Paris office is no exception, particularly for its role in pharmaceutical and medical device product liability. Head of the dispute resolution practice Thomas Rouhette is known internationally by numerous institutional peers and clients as the “go to defence counsel in the country”. His performance in product liability litigation is “a cut above his competition”. Cécile Derycke heads the Paris life sciences group and focuses exclusively on pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology product liability claims. She is widely recommended for her dedicated expertise, with one source asserting that “she starts several steps ahead of most lawyers”. Mikael Salmela advises life sciences companies on commercial agreements and regulatory compliance. He is recommended by sources as a practitioner who “understands both the technical and the commercial needs of life sciences companies”.

Simmons & Simmons impresses with its noted ability to advice on regulatory concerns, complex commercial transactions and large multi-jurisdictional product liability claims for life sciences companies. Head of the life sciences sector group Jacques-Antoine Robert has a broad focus, advising pharmaceutical companies on regulatory, commercial and liability concerns. He is a noted figure in the market with decades of experience. Respondents comment on his “effective advocacy style” and his “very practical counsel”. Alexandre Regniault represents life sciences companies in product liability claims and advises them on their pricing, reimbursement, advertising and commercial practices. According to peers, he has “a brilliant analytical mind” and his advice “is always articulated well”.

Reed Smith is noted for its established international status in the life sciences sector and two of its Paris-based partners are recognised for their practices. The “excellent” Daniel Kadar is highly recommended for his wide ranging commercial, regulatory and data protection expertise. Meanwhile, Marina Cousté is focused on multi-jurisdictional patent litigation and has represented numerous global pharmaceutical companies in patent infringement cases. She is seen as “a well-established, prominent name in her field”.

August & Debouzy has a leading practice in relation to life sciences patent litigation. Grégoire Desrousseaux and François Pochart jointly lead an “outstanding team” in patent opposition and litigation before the European Patent Office and the French Courts. Respondents similarly report that they are “responsive” and “very skilful litigators”.

Allen & Overy is selected as “the destination of choice in France” for complex European patent litigation. Co-head of the firm’s global life sciences group Laëtitia Bénard is described effusively as “the best, not just in France but on the Continent”. Clients remark that she is “hard-working, clever and creative” and that “she has a very good team behind her”.

Fréget - Tasso de Panafieu is a respected independent firm with a particular focus on competition law. Olivier Fréget is highlighted for his specialised knowledge of the regulated sectors, and he regularly advises life sciences companies on competition related matters. Clients highlight his “impressive drive” and his ability to provide “answers to every issue”.

Alain Decombe, managing partner of Dechert’s Paris office, is known as “a preeminent transactional lawyer in the pharmaceutical sector”. One source responded that he is “an innovative and experienced dealmaker, and my first port of call in the country”.

At Viguié Schmidt, Etienne Gouesse has an established practice in representing pharmaceutical companies in product liability. According to one respondent, “He is very good, both strategically and on his feet – I would not hesitate recommending him.”

PDG Avocats is a small boutique dedicated to life sciences matters. Founder Paule Drouault-Gardrat is one of the most experienced and respected lawyers in our research. She is regarded as “in the very top tier of life sciences regulatory lawyers in the country”, as well as “a standout litigator” in pharmaceutical product liability claims.

At CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre, Bernard Geneste is an esteemed practitioner in relation to EU life sciences regulatory guidance for pharmaceutical clients. A number of peers regard him as “the top name for market access and pricing”.

Co-founder of the boutique LCH, Laure Le Calvé ranks highly in our research for her life sciences regulatory expertise, particularly for medical device manufacturers. Sources find her “diligent, practical and very supportive of her clients”.

SEA Avocats SELAS is a highly regarded healthcare boutique. Alain Gorny is active in both regulatory compliance and in defending product liability claims for pharmaceutical companies. According to peers, “he is an authority when it comes to matters of pricing and reimbursements”.

Squire Patton Boggs recently bolstered its disputes resolution practice with the lateral hire of Valérie Ravit, who ranks highly for defending large pharmaceutical companies in product liability claims. Sources describe her as “very smart and very active”, while another noted, “You only hear good things from clients about her.”

Bird & Bird’s head of IP in France Yves Bizollon is well acquainted with complex cross-border patent litigation. One respondent was particularly impressed with his work: “The matter was handled judiciously and with great technical competence.”

Founder of the highly rated boutique Intuity, Christophe Henin is often distinguished as “tier-one for both regulatory work and product liability” by peers and clients.

At McDermott Will & Emery, Emmanuelle Trombe specialises in acting on high-profile international transactions in the life sciences industry, including for a number of Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies. Respondents speak highly of her intelligence, commercial awareness and accessible manner.

In Paris office of European IP boutique Hoyng Rokh Monegier, Denis Monégier du Sorbier is seen as “one of the most capable IP lawyers in the country”. He is also praised for the “fluent advocacy skills” he employs in cross-border patent disputes in the sector.

At the small but highly specialised IP boutique Cabinet Schertenleib founder Denis Schertenleib is noted for his “highly scientific mind”, which “is a cut above his peers”. Clients also praise the responsive nature of the firm.

Olivier Lantrès heads the life sciences team at Fieldfisher’s Paris office. He is recommended by a number of sources for his “excellent” practice, covering all the regulatory aspects of drug and medical device life cycles.

At the litigation-focused boutique Bouckaert Ormen Passemard Sportes, founding partner Christian Bouckaert is one of France’s most experienced litigators in pharmaceutical product liability matters. Peers are effusive, claiming that “he is a commanding presence in court and in negotiations”.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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