This was Canada’s best biotechnology lawyers based on the results of our comprehensive yearly peer survey in 2021. For a current list of the country’s most recommended lawyers and law firms in the field of biotechnology, see our current list of the best life sciences & health lawyers in Canada.
In our survey, biotechnology law encompasses legal issues stemming from how technology is used in the life sciences. The practice includes intellectual property protection arising from many disciplines, including biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, immunology, molecular biology and genetics. It also involves advise and representation relating to innovations applicable to agriculture, human and veterinary medicine and environmental protection and remediation.
Most frequently recommended biotechnology lawyers
Eileen M. McMahon is a partner and the chair of the intellectual property and food and drug regulatory practices at Torys LLP. She specializes in the areas of IP, and food and drug regulatory law. McMahon advises on regulatory clearance and IP protection of products. Her expertise includes giving advice on identifying IP and regulatory assets, obtaining and maintaining market exclusivity using IP and regulatory laws, exploiting IP assets and enforcing IP rights. McMahon is a registered patent and trademark agent in the U.S. and Canada. She is highly recommended for her IP, biotechnology, licensing and regulatory practice in various publications internationally. McMahon is a member of the board of trustees of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Her memberships and affiliations also include BIO, Intellectual Property Institute of Canada, Intellectual Property Owners Association, Food and Drug Law Institute, American Intellectual Property Law Association and Licensing Executives Society.
Consistently recommended biotechnology lawyers
Anthony Creber is a senior partner at Gowling WLG, where is also past head of its intellectual property litigation and strategy group. He specializes in chemical, biotech and pharmaceutical patent litigation. Creber also devotes his practice to trademark litigation, regulatory issues and advising on intellectual property life cycle matters. He regularly appears in both the trial and appellate levels of the Federal Court. Creber has also represented clients in the Supreme Court of Canada on patent matters, including questions of patentability of life forms, patent licensing and the infringement of biotech patents. His firm operates internationally and boasts a roster of more than 1,400 lawyers and legal professionals. Some of the important cases he has appeared in include the SCC decisions in Monsanto v. Schmeiser and Apotex v. Sanofi-Synthelabo – a case for which Creber, as lead partner, won the Milestone Case of the Year 2014 and Patent Case of the Year 2009 awards given by Managing Intellectual Property (MIP). Recently, he represented Novartis in protecting its patent on Gleevec and Biotech Canada in an access-to-information case before the SCC.
Julie Desrosiers is a partner at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, where practises intellectual property litigation. Desrosiers regularly acts on behalf of high-tech corporations and advises clients on injunctions, seizures and proceedings to protect their intellectual property, trade secrets and strategic information. Her practice is currently focused almost exclusively on patent litigation. A seasoned litigator, Desrosiers has been involved in several important patent infringement cases in the pharmaceutical sector. She appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of the International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys. She has served as counsel during various patent infringement cases ranging from helicopter landing gear to complex chemical molecules used to manufacture drugs. Desrosiers has also acted in major copyright disputes resulting in precedent-setting decisions.
Joseph A. Garcia is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. He practises in the areas of corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. Garcia advises public and private companies, investment dealers, venture capital and private equity funds and acts as independent counsel to boards of directors. He has extensive experience advising on all types of domestic and cross-border M&A and corporate finance transactions, including public and private equity and debt financings, takeover and issuer bids, share and asset acquisitions and divestitures and regulatory and stock exchange compliance work. Prior to his career in law, Garcia worked in corporate finance with a national investment bank and in clinical research with a multinational pharmaceutical company. He is a director of Genome BC and chair of its audit committee. Garcia is also director emeritus of Life Sciences BC and the Canadian Glycomics Network and a member of the BIOTE Canada Legal Affairs Advisory Board, the Canadian Bar Association and the American Bar Association.
K. Vanessa A. Grant is a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP’s Toronto office. Her practice focuses on public and private corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions and private equity. Grant advises issuers, investors and underwriters on financings, initial public offerings, public and private M&A, corporate governance, joint ventures, and licensing and distribution agreements. She also designs, structures and negotiates complex collaborations, licensing, commercial arrangements and M&A transactions. Grant provides ongoing general corporate and commercial legal advice to several clients and works with national and international clients across all industries, with a particular focus on technology, including fintech and artificial intelligence, and life sciences companies, including digital healthcare, therapeutics, devices, diagnostics and agribusiness. Grant also represents private equity and venture capital funds investing in those industries. She lectures regularly on topics related to M&A, securities law, corporate governance and industry-specific issues. Grant is the co-director of the Osgoode Hall LLM program in business law and teaches a course in corporate finance for the program.
Jason C. Markwell
Law firm: Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
Year called to the bar: 1999
Jason C. Markwell serves as a partner at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP. He represents domestic and multinational corporations in a wide range of industries, including life sciences, technology, financial services, manufacturing, mining and energy. Markwell is well-known for his work on behalf of innovative pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in leading patent and regulatory disputes. He is active in various intellectual property organizations, including the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC) and International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI). Markwell is a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and is a member of The Advocates’ Society. He has appeared as counsel before the Supreme Court of Canada, Federal Court of Appeal, Federal Court and Ontario Superior Court of Justice in several high-stakes and precedent-setting decisions.
Cheryl V. Reicin
Law firm: Torys LLP
Year called to the bar: 1985 (New York); 1989 (Massachusetts)
Cheryl V. Reicin is a partner at Torys LLP. Her practice focuses on biotechnology, medical device, health information and other technology-based companies. Reicin also represents private equity, venture capital funds and investment banks that fund such companies, including academic medical centres and universities, primarily in the U.S., Canada and Israel. She assists companies in formulating domestic and international growth strategies and in sourcing capital. Reicin advises on venture and later-stage financings, IPOs, mergers and acquisitions, licensing transactions and joint ventures or alliances with strategic partners. She also coordinates domestic and international structuring to dovetail with intellectual property and tax planning and regulatory strategy. Reicin is a trustee for The Hospital for Sick Children. She also the founder and chair at Genesis, incubator for social entrepreneurship and part of the external review panel at Health Technologies Fund.
Andrew M. Shaughnessy
Law firm: Torys LLP
Year called to the bar: 1993
Andrew M. Shaughnessy is a partner at Torys LLP. He specializes in intellectual property litigation and dispute resolution and Federal Court practice. Shaughnessy has represented a wide variety of clients in complex patent and trademark infringement and related litigation. He has also been an advocate before the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Canada, Federal Court of Appeal, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Court of Appeal for Ontario and specialized tribunals such as the Trademarks Opposition Board. Shaughnessy is a well-known IP and advocacy speaker, instructor and author. He is also an adjunct lecturer at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.
Alice Tseng serves as partner and patent agent at Smart & Biggar. She specializes in regulatory, marketing and advertising matters, particularly in the area of life sciences. As both a pharmacist and a regulatory lawyer, Tseng counsels clients in highly regulated industries, including pharmaceutical, cannabis, medical devices, food and cosmetics. She helps her clients navigate a myriad of regulatory regimes and industry codes to maximize commercial objectives while minimizing risk. Tseng also specializes in federal and provincial regulatory, advertising and marketing, privacy, health care compliance, reimbursement, access to information and product safety matters. She is a registered pharmacist.