Coats & Bennett Established Life Sciences and Biotechnology Practice Area

(Cary, N.C.) Coats & Bennett is cementing its position as one of the Southeast’s most comprehensive intellectual property firms, with its creation of a life sciences and biotechnology division, to be headed by attorney Jennifer Fox.

Most recently, Fox was an attorney for Novozymes North America, the world leader in industrial bio-solutions.  In that capacity she prepared, prosecuted, and managed the patent portfolio for the company’s enzyme biofuels division and advised the company’s microbial and biopharma business units on various patent related issues.  Her practice also included agreement work relating to joint ventures, research collaborations, and licensing.

Previously, Fox worked as a pharmaceutical and chemical patent attorney for GlaxoSmithKline, Inc. (GSK), where she prepared and prosecuted patents for pharmaceutical inventions, including small molecule new chemical entities and biological therapeutics.  She also performed due diligence reviews for joint development and acquisitions, freedom to operate analyses, invalidity and non-infringement opinions, life cycle management analyses, product portfolio reviews, patent matters regarding transactional concerns, and ANDA litigation support including pre-filing investigations.  In addition, her role at GSK provided her the opportunity to gain experience with patent term extension applications and Orange Book listing applications, as well as counseling with regard to the implications associated with such applications.

“With the extensive presence and remarkable growth of biotechnology in our region, we saw the obvious business opportunity, but had not found the right person to fully develop our firm’s life sciences and biotechnology practice areas,” said John Owen, a member with the firm. “Jennifer has the legal and technical competency, in combination with the necessary business acumen, to lead this expansion of our firm.”

The new group includes Fox, as well as attorneys Kathleen Cavanagh and Emily Haas.  Cavanagh holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, summa cum laude, from North Carolina State University.  Haas graduated magna cum laude from Gettysburg College with a double major in chemistry and computer science and also holds a Master of Science degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“The pathway for approval of new biological and small molecule therapies is long and expensive and a strong patent strategy is an integral part of that process.  This is a $100 billion a year industry with more than 2,900 new medicines in development but fewer than 30 new approvals in the US each year,” said Fox.  “My previous work as a scientist and as an attorney gives me an intimate knowledge of the technologies and business processes of life sciences companies.  I’ve worked on many sides of research and development and that range of experience makes me a much stronger patent attorney.”

In addition to her J.D., Fox holds a Master of Science in molecular biology from the University of Toledo.  She has been published in numerous outlets including Biochemistry, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Molecular Endocrinology.