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Sometimes an acquisition helps an acquisition. That was the case for Heller Ehrman corporate partner Mark Weeks when he represented Fremont-based client RITA Medical Systems in its acquisition by New York’s AngioDynamics for $220 million in cash and stock last week. Weeks worked at Venture Law Group, which was acquired by Heller three years ago to boost the firm’s Silicon Valley presence and emerging companies practice. In complex patent-heavy, cross-country deals, like the one last week, Weeks said being part of a larger firm makes a big difference. “We had our corporate M&A group, our FDA group, our antitrust group, [our executive compensation group] and our IP group working on this deal,” said Weeks, who heads Heller’s business department from its Menlo Park office. “[At VLG] we wouldn’t have been able to do the FDA, IP or New York pieces.” AngioDynamics, which makes devices that diagnose and treat peripheral vascular disease, was represented by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. The company’s acquisition of RITA Medical Systems, which makes devices to treat cancer, took roughly one month, according to Weeks. With the final days of the deal coming at the same time as the Thanksgiving holiday, Weeks said the Heller deal team took one day to sit down with family and eat some turkey, but quickly returned to the negotiating table to finish the deal. In deals between medical technology companies, a great deal of effort is put into poring through patent portfolios of both parties. “As a standard part of one of these transactions, you do a lot of due diligence on the other company’s patent portfolio,” said Weeks. “In the broader scheme of things, you want to do a deep look at the assets and the risks of the IP portfolio.” For RITA’s lawyers that meant taking stock of a patent-infringement lawsuit filed against AngioDynamics by West Coast competitor VNUS Medical Technologies, which has been scheduled for trial next October. Ultimately, Weeks said, it wasn’t a factor in the agreement between the two companies. The deal wasn’t the first time Weeks had represented RITA. Weeks has had a longstanding relationship with the company, representing it in various matters since 1993. “It’s nice to see such a terrific outcome for them,” Weeks said. The Heller team in Menlo Park, led by Weeks and corporate partner Steven Tonsfeldt, included partners P. Garth Gartrell and Sharon Hendricks, and associate Karen Berk advising on compensation and benefits; partner Paul Davis advising on IP matters; associates Michael Scimeca and K. Amar Murugan assisting in corporate matters; and partner Mark Windfeld-Hansen advising on tax matters. Associate Stacy Kim advised on corporate matters from the firm’s New York office, and special counsel Natasha Leskovsek advised on life sciences and FDA matters from Washington, D.C. The Skadden team was led by corporate M&A partner Robert Pincus from the firm’s Wilmington, Del., office. He was assisted by associates Faiz Ahmad, Michael Frakes and Carolyn Mullins Matkov. In New York, partner James Keyte advised on antitrust matters and partner Sally Thurston advised on tax matters. In Palo Alto, counsel Lonny Block advised on employee benefits and executive compensation, and associates Michele Gustafson and Ronald Turiello Jr. advised on IP matters.

Zusha Elinson

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