Life Sciences

For over four decades, Williams & Connolly has been at the forefront of major litigation involving the life sciences industry. The firm’s experience in this space began with some of the earliest large-scale product litigation and quickly expanded to life science matters involving intellectual property, antitrust, international litigation and arbitration, unfair competition, trade secrets, health care fraud, and False Claims Act proceedings. A substantial number of Williams & Connolly attorneys dedicate a majority of their practice to the representation of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies.

The firm is particularly well equipped to represent pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Merck, Bayer, AstraZeneca, Teva, Bayer and others, in Hatch-Waxman litigation. Our attorneys regularly handle IPR proceedings concurrent with district court proceedings.

In product liability litigation, we represent clients in all aspects of national and international litigation as: (a) lead trial counsel, (b) national or global coordinating counsel, (c) resolution counsel, and (d) appellate counsel.  Our experience in the area stretches back several decades to some of the earliest large-scale product litigation.

We have sixteen former clerks on the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and many of our attorneys hold scientific undergraduate and graduate degrees ranging from biochemistry to stem cell and developmental biology. 

Williams & Connolly routinely guides life sciences companies through investigations involving state and federal government agencies, including before Congressional committees.

Representative Experience

Some of the firm’s most prominent representations in this industry include:

Products Liability

  • Merck in litigation involving more than 60,000 claims arising from the withdrawal from the market of the pain medicine Vioxx. After 15 trials involving the firm and other defense firms, Williams & Connolly took the lead in developing and negotiating a settlement strategy for the overall litigation.
  • Pfizer in multi-district litigation (2,800 cases) concerning Chantix, an aid to smoking cessation. The firm negotiated and litigated numerous MDL procedural issues, handled extensive fact discovery, including company witness depositions and affirmative discovery of initial bellwether plaintiffs and their healthcare providers, and deposed and defended experts. The firm (and its co-counsel) won summary judgment for Pfizer in the MDL on the adequacy of the current Chantix label.
  • Bayer in MDL and various state coordinated proceedings (comprising over 15,000 cases total) – and was asked to be co-lead trial counsel in one of the two initial bellwether cases to be tried in the PCCP – before the entire litigation was ordered by the courts to mediation.

Intellectual Property

  • Teva Pharmaceuticals and Cephalon at trial in Hatch-Waxman litigation and on appeal concerning Teva’s flagship branded product, Bendeka®, a drug used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma with more than $2 billion in cumulative sales. 
  • Arbutus Biopharma in two important appeals before the Federal Circuit concerning Moderna’s challenges to Arbutus’s patents directed to nucleic-acid lipid particles used to deliver nucleic acid cargoes to cells.
  • Mirowski Family Ventures in the appeal of a $309.3 million verdict in a complex breach of contract and patent licensing trial against Boston Scientific Corporation.


  • A biotechnology company in an antitrust lawsuit alleging generic blocking, before the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
  • Endo Pharmaceuticals in an alleged “reverse-payment” antitrust class-action in the N.D. Illinois where plaintiffs claimed billions in damages.
  • AstraZeneca as lead trial counsel opposing proposed antitrust class actions alleging the company entered into anticompetitive patent settlement agreements with generic drug manufacturers to protect its brand antipsychotic drug Seroquel XR. 

Commercial Litigation

  • A global pharmaceutical company in a breach of contract action where plaintiffs sought $275 million in milestone payments under a merger agreement.
  • A leading pharmaceutical company before the Delaware Supreme Court in a landmark decision on the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing that safeguards the stability of contracts governed by Delaware law.
  • A global medical company in a commercial dispute involving contract and trade secrets claims in excess of $400 million.  

International Disputes

  • A global pharmaceutical company in an ICC arbitration involving alleged breaches of a patent-licensing agreement governing the marketing of a drug in the U.S.
  • A global medical device company in an ICDR arbitration concerning the interpretation of a merger agreement executed in connection with the acquisition of another medical device company. 
  • A global science and technology company in an ad hoc Swedish arbitration covering the term, scope, and method of calculation of royalties pursuant to a patent licensing agreement.

Unfair Competition, Restrictive Covenants, & Trade Secrets

  • A global medical company in a commercial dispute involving contract and trade secrets claims in excess of $400 million. After the client won summary judgment on the trade secrets claims, the jury returned a defense verdict on the contract claims.
  • A publicly traded medical technology company in a restrictive covenant matter in federal court, securing permanent injunctive relief for the firm’s client.
  • United Therapeutics Corp. in an antitrust, unfair competition, tortious interference, and contract action involving its drug, Remodulin, which treats a rare condition known as pulmonary arterial hypertension. 


  • A global medical device company in Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigations of insider trading relating to a major merger transaction.
  • A pharmaceutical company in a Congressional investigation concerning drug pricing price increases.
  • A pharmaceutical company in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice concerning manufacturing operations in Asia.

Law360 Names Williams & Connolly Among "IP Practice Groups of the Year"

Law360 Names Williams & Connolly Among "IP Practice Groups of the Year"

Law360 Recognizes Williams & Connolly as a 2023 “Firm of the Year”

Law360 Recognizes Williams & Connolly as a 2023 “Firm of the Year”
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