Biotech Industry


From start to market, McAfee & Taft’s multi-disciplinary Biotech Industry Group of lawyers work with entrepreneurial individuals and organizations to turn scientific research, discoveries and innovative technology into commercial success.

Our clients include scientists and inventors, start-up companies, emerging businesses, research centers, medical facilities, and colleges and universities, as well as industry organizations whose mission it is to help those entrepreneurs succeed. We also represent public and private equity investors as well as acquiring companies.

The path that leads from discovery to commercialization can be a long and expensive one. Our multi-disciplinary group of lawyers transition comfortably between the worlds of law and science and technology to help clients navigate the complexities associated with corporate organization and structuring, raising capital, protecting confidentiality and intellectual property rights, negotiating licensing and research/development agreements, obtaining regulatory approval, developing strategic alliances, and attracting and retaining top talent.

While leveraging our experience and expertise in the allocation, exploitation, protection, financing and commercialization of biotechnology, we are also mindful of every client’s need to control legal costs and maximize value. Maintaining offices exclusively in the nation’s heartland has been part of a deliberate, successful strategy to take advantage of low overhead costs and pass those efficiencies along to our clients.

Comprehensive Legal and Business Services

Business and Growth Strategies

McAfee & Taft has deep resources and the knowledge to help clients capitalize on their most valued intellectual property assets through every business phase from formation and start-up, through development, and ultimately on to commercialization through such strategies as IPOs, spin-offs, mergers, acquisitions or divestitures.

Our work with new companies involves consulting with them on the business, tax and legal advantages and disadvantages associated with entity selection, advising them of any applicable tax-advantaged activities such as business incentives and state and federal tax credits, and helping them secure initial funding. McAfee & Taft was active in the formation and/or represents many of the state’s and region’s most significant and influential angel, seed and venture capital funds and private equity firms and is uniquely positioned to facilitate business connections and present funding options. In addition, through our connections and active involvement with numerous business development organizations, our attorneys have access to a significant number of business consultants, subject matter experts, financial institutions and industry professionals which can assist our clients in their commercialization efforts.

The firm also has substantial experience handling traditional corporate transactions such as financing, venture capital deals, IPOs, joint ventures, strategic alliances and mergers and acquisitions. As such, we are able to advise clients on the associated risk and potential rewards associated with each type of transaction.

Protecting and Commercializing Intellectual Property Assets

McAfee & Taft takes a strategic, comprehensive approach to the protection of intellectual property rights that begins prior to the patenting process and continues throughout the commercialization and portfolio management processes. We work closely with our biotech clients to enhance revenue, protect competitive positions, and secure and defend their rights to valuable discoveries, inventions and technology, trademarks and copyrights, and license agreements. In addition to preparing and prosecuting patent, trademark and copyright applications both in the United States and worldwide, our attorneys provide industry clients with infringement, freedom to operate, and other legal opinions relating to patent rights and negotiate technology transfer licensing agreements, research and development agreements, and consulting agreements.

Because the successful prosecution of international patent applications requires that sensitive information remain confidential until the time of application, we help clients develop trade secret protection policies, as well as systematic procedures for properly managing information, records and lab notebooks. We also offer strategic advice as to which discoveries should be patented and which assets should remain trade secrets, and we are available to conduct patent audits to determine patent coverage, areas of possible vulnerability, and gaps in technology. A patent audit can also identify those patents which do not provide a competitive and economic advantage.

For business transactions involving the buying, selling or financing of IP assets, we also conduct IP due diligence for investors and acquiring companies.

Employment, Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits

Workplace issues play a crucial role in the life of every business, and our employment attorneys are well versed in the unique issues associated with the biotech industry. These include employment agreements, confidentiality agreements, independent contractor agreements, business immigration and visa issues, drug and alcohol testing, and environmental health and safety issues.

Our executive compensation and employee benefits attorneys assist clients of all sizes on group health and welfare plans, qualified and nonqualified group retirement plans, and executive compensation, including equity compensation programs (such as stock option plans, phantom stock plans, and restricted stock award plans), long-term incentive awards and supplemental retirement plans. We also counsel clients on legal compliance, funding and taxation issues, litigate ERISA claims, and handle the employee benefits and compensation aspects of transactions for which the firm provides corporate and securities services.

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

  • Intellectual Property – The firm assists biotech industry clients in protecting and enforcing their rights in patented discoveries and technology, trademarked products and services, copyrighted works, confidential and proprietary trade secrets, negotiated license agreements, and other business agreements involving intellectual property assets.
  • Products Liability and Mass Torts – The firm has one of the most active products liability and mass torts defense practices in the area and is particularly experienced at representing pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and distributors against lawsuits alleging defective products, serious personal injury and even wrongful death.
  • Commercial Disputes – With more than 80 litigators, McAfee & Taft boasts considerable experience, expertise and bench strength helping clients resolve a broad range of business disputes through aggressive advocacy and strenuous negotiations, trials, arbitration and mediation. Issues common to the industry include those involving licensing and business agreements, antitrust, corporate governance, banking and finance, and complex business relationships.
  • Corporate and Governmental Investigations – The firm represents corporations, boards of directors, executives and officers, and employees who are the subject of formal government investigations, as well as those connected with internal investigations, agency enforcement actions, qui tam lawsuits, grand jury subpoenas, white collar criminal investigations and civil and criminal trials and appeals. Our experience includes matters involving securities and financial fraud, tax fraud, healthcare fraud and abuse, false claims, antitrust, and environmental and safety.

As other business and legal needs arise, the firm will draw upon the resources and talents of all of the firm’s lawyers to service our biotech industry clients, whether it be real estate, healthcare, construction and development, environmental and regulatory, aircraft financing and registration, or any other related area of law.

To learn more about McAfee & Taft’s Biotech Industry Group, please contact:

Michael J. LaBrie
(405) 552-2305


Industry Group Leader

Michael J. LaBrie

Biotech Industry Team

Kate N. Dodoo

Shareholder, Practice Group Leader

(405) 270-6057

Genni Ellis


(405) 270-6024

Justin Jackson

Shareholder, Practice Group Leader

(405) 552-2240

Michael J. LaBrie

Shareholder, Practice Group Leader, Industry Group Leader

(405) 552-2305