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Baker McKenzie grows Life Sciences practice in New York

The co-chairman of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius’ life sciences practice, Randall Sunberg, and partner Denis Segota are moving to Baker McKenzie in the Big Apple.

Sunberg and Segota will join Baker McKenzie as partners in its health care industry group and its North America corporate and securities practice, the firm announced Tuesday. Though they are officially members of the firm’s New York office, they will operate out of the life sciences corridor in Princeton, New Jersey.

“The international platform is just unbeatable [at Baker McKenzie],” said Sunberg, who will now serve as co-head of the firm’s North America life sciences practice.

Sunberg joined Morgan Lewis in 1999 from Shook, Hardy & Bacon and has worked with clients on M&A and private financing transactions for more than 35 years.

He works with life sciences clients from biotech startups to multinational pharmaceutical and medical device companies on complex collaborations, joint ventures and licensing transactions, as well as equity investments and alternative financing arrangements. He also works with clients on contractual arrangements for drug discovery, development and manufacturing.

It was the focus on health care and life sciences worldwide that drove the pair to make the jump to Baker McKenzie, Sunberg said. From the number of cross-border transactions to the firm’s role in M&A and emerging markets across the globe, Baker McKenzie offered “a compelling story for us and for our ability to serve our clients on an even larger platform,” he added.

And Baker McKenzie’s presence in these emerging markets provides a strategic advantage for some of the pair’s clients looking to access services in those locations.

“Our pharmaceutical clients are focusing on growth and they’re looking at emerging markets for [that] growth,” said Segota, who spent nearly 20 years at Morgan Lewis advising companies in the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors on joint ventures, strategic alliances, licensing and other arrangements promoting the research and development of new products.

Segota advises clients on M&A and private financing transactions, working with both financial institutions and companies in royalty monetizations, venture capital and other private equity financings.

“Randy and Denis are trusted advisers to companies across the life sciences sector, from biotech startups to global pharmaceutical companies,” Alan Zoccolillo, chairman of Baker McKenzie’s North America health care industry group, said in a statement.

“As health care companies look to grow in a hypercompetitive environment, they need pragmatic, business-focused solutions. Randy and Denis bring deep industry and technical knowledge that will immediately benefit our team and our clients.”

Sunberg said there is a lot of client overlap already between the firm and his and Segota’s practice, but the pair will now bring the licensing and collaboration expertise to representations on a more global scale.

“We are really looking forward to working with the rest of the health care team at Baker McKenzie to build [the practice] and make it even stronger and have a really purposeful approach toward adding elements where we think we need additional expertise to better serve our clients on their worldwide transactions,” he added.

The pair worked with Sabina Lippman and Vijay Luthra of global legal recruitment firm Lippman Jungers in their move.

The addition of Sunberg and Segota is one of the first major hires stateside for Baker McKenzie, which earlier this year added White & Case M&A attorney Peter Lu as a partner and head of the firm’s China group in London. The firm also added consultants Casey Flaherty and Jae Um as director of legal project management and director of pricing strategy, respectively, as the firm looks to re-engineer the delivery of its services.

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