25 Aug 2022

Wilson Sonsini hires Daiichi Sankyo associate GC to boost New York life sciences bench

Transactions expert joins as a partner after spending more than 16 years in pharmaceutical giant's legal department

Portrait of Seth Flaum

Seth Flaum

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has hired pharmaceutical giant Daiichi Sankyo’s executive associate general counsel to boost its East Coast life sciences corporate team.

Seth Flaum has joined Wilson Sonsini's New York office as a partner, ending a long association with Daiichi Sankyo spanning 16 years.

He brings with him significant experience structuring and negotiating biotechnology and life sciences transactions, including joint ventures, manufacturing and clinical trial agreements, among other matters.

Doug Clark, managing partner at Wilson Sonsini, said the hire reflected the firm’s ongoing push to secure lawyers with dealmaking experience in the life sciences sector in response to growing client demand. 

“The healthy business activity in the US and globally among life sciences companies and investors means that clients are seeking deal-making experience, including expertise with R&D agreements, collaborations, and other sophisticated transactions,” he said. 

Chambers and Partners ranks the firm as a Band Two life sciences player on its home turf in California, behind top-ranked Latham & Watkins and Cooley, while it drops a level to Band Three in the nationwide ranking.

Prior to his appointment as executive associate general counsel, IP and business development, last August, Flaum worked in several roles across Daiichi Sankyo’s legal department, including as senior legal director for business development between 2013 and 2021. 

He previously worked in-house as general counsel of H&H Bagels and as corporate counsel at Slim Fast Foods Company before entering private practice at Ullman Shapiro & Ullman in 2002, according to his Linkedin profile. 

Flaum said: “I’m excited about the opportunity to continue working with innovative life sciences clients and collaborating with the entire team in New York to help the firm expand its client base in various life sciences markets on the East Coast.”

Wilson Sonsini’s life sciences practice grew earlier this year when the firm opened a new outpost in Boulder in a bid to deepen its ties to Colorado’s booming tech and life sciences markets. Led by corporate partner duo Vern Norviel and Tony Jeffries, the office is staffed by an additional six associates and staff professionals and is the firm’s 13th office in the US. 

Recent deals in the sector saw Kirkland & Ellis advise Bristol Myers Squibb on its $4.1bn acquisition of oncology specialists Turning Point Therapeutics, advised by Cooley, in June and, a month earlier, Ropes & Gray and Sullivan & Cromwell advise on Pfizer's purchase of Connecticut-based migraine drug producer Biohaven Pharmaceuticals for $11.6bn, the company’s largest acquisition since 2016. 

Other US firms making life sciences hires in recent months include Morrison Foerster (MoFo), which hired life sciences transactions expert Matthew Ferry from Perkins Coie in June. Ferry marked the sixth partner to depart Perkins Coie for MoFo this year following the departures of  emerging companies and venture capital partners Michael Glaser, Mike LaPlante, Teresa Tate and Paul Navarro in San Francisco and Los Angeles and tech transactions partner Daphne Higgs in Palo Alto.

And in March,  K&L Gates secured a 12-strong team in Boston from local boutique Lando & Anastasi to beef up its life sciences and IP capabilities in the region. 

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