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Norton Rose Advises Cooper Pharma on Contract Agreement

Norton Rose Fulbright has advised Cooper Pharma on its granted license with United PPE to develop and manufacture COVID-19 diagnostic tests using Sherlock’s CRISPR technology. The contract has been granted under The 221b Foundation, a non-profit organisation established by Sherlock Biosciences to address the global COVID-19 pandemic while promoting diverse representation in STEM.

CRISPR technology called SHERLOCK and the diagnostic platform can achieve single molecule detection of nucleic acid targets. SHERLOCK utilises CRISPR activity for “smart amplicon detection” and can be adapted for use with existing diagnostic instruments, improving time to result due to its significant multiplexing capacity.

When a specific sequence of DNA or RNA is present, a CRISPR enzyme is activated and, much like a pair of scissors, starts cutting nearby genetic material, releasing a fluorescent signal that indicates a positive result.

Morocco-based Cooper Pharma is a leading laboratory of the national pharmaceutical industry, which has supported health professionals and aims to increase access to medicines.

Adjou Ait Ben Idir, Dubai-based corporate partner who led on the deal, commented: “This contract will enable increased access to COVID-19 testing in Asia and the Middle East. The design will be able to cover new and emerging variants, which remains of the upmost importance as we navigate through the pandemic.”

The Norton Rose Fulbright Dubai team also included senior associate Zaid Al-Rizzo and counsel Jonathan Burton.

Advisory Excellence in Asia

Asia is Earth’s largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe, and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with Africa and Europe.

In an increasingly knowledgeable client market providing sophisticated, high-quality advice allows providers of wealth management services to differentiate themselves.

Typically, most private banks aim to achieve “excellence” using a structured advisory process: assessing a client over a number of elements, including risk profile, and developing a customised solution.

In Asia, however, client advisers rarely follow this process for two reasons: it is a young industry and the current incentive structures for the front-line staff.

Although the last financial crisis was an exceptional situation, it has brought into focus the need for a comprehensive client analysis as a cornerstone of high-quality advice.

In order to deliver suitable services a constant learning process is required, driven by both providers of financial services and the clients.

High-quality advice in rising demand

The demand for high-quality advice is made more acute as Asian clients are usually highly hands-on in making investment decisions compared to their European counterparts.

They are also generally more willing to take risks and are more receptive to innovative products.

Despite Asian clients continuing to taking their own decisions, the need for advice still increases, especially for the initial risk assessment.

The Asian market has several notable features that differentiate it from more mature ones.

Firstly, the largest proportion of assets generally remain with the first generation, and for private banks that means the demand for wealth planning services will increase.

Secondly, there is generally little distinction between business and personal assets, therefore an adviser who can offer solutions in both areas adds more value to their clients and can obtain a larger share of their assets.

These factors place high demands on client advisers and other wealth management specialists.

Correct, timely decision making

The opportunities for growth in Asia remain enormous.

To take advantage of this, major adaptations to systems, processes, and change management approaches are necessary in order to successfully develop a business in a sustainable manner.

The correct use of expert knowledge will play a central role in the quick development and sustained implementation of solutions in Asia.

Many private banks still work with the “everything for everyone” approach, with no clear differentiation for client segments.

Advisers often have too many clients to be able to really focus. Inadequate processes and a lack of suitable systems compound this.

Furthermore, advisers require continuous support in the provision of advice to their clients, especially for cross-border activities, where the requirements change constantly.

In addition to the necessary and continuous advanced training, advisers must also be able to rely on an efficient infrastructure to assess their client’s needs and to develop robust solutions.

This can be an important factor, especially in Asia, for companies who wish to retain existing and attract new advisers.