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It’s an exciting but edgy time to be doing IP at a biotechnology company. The business plans of these companies aim for profits, of course, but they are also infused with hope. Biotech companies are in search of cures for cancer, vaccines to eradicate disease, and ways to help relieve the suffering of AIDS patients. As a scientific and business proposition, it doesn’t get much more exciting than that. These companies are edgy, in both a legal and financial sense. They are exploring legal frontiers by patenting gene sequences that critics think should be outside the bounds of patentability. And some of them are on the financial edge, a deal or a payday away from survival or collapse. The biotech sector also has not escaped the wrath that the stock market has unleashed on technology companies of all stripes. Even so, for lawyers who like risk — and they do exist — biotechnology is a great place to be. There is plenty of room for deal lawyers, litigators and patent prosecutors alike to be fully engaged in their craft. In this package, IP Law & Businesslooks at 11 in-house lawyers whose jobs offer plenty of promise and peril. Their career paths are a window on the genetic structure of the industry. To find these 11, we cast our net wide but not high. We deliberately did not look at lawyers at established players like Amgen Inc., Genentech Inc., and Chiron Corp. For one reason, we recently profiled Chiron’s chief IP lawyer, Robert Blackburn [" Blood Money "]. But the larger explanation is that we wanted to find lawyers — and presumably a few companies, too — on their way up. We looked for lawyers who wanted to be like Bob — and we wanted businesses with a compelling story line. A few of the companies are fairly well-known. Affymetrix Inc., and Geron Corp., for example, participate actively in the policy debates over gene patenting and stem cell patents, respectively. Their chief IP counsels — Philip McGarrigle at Affymetrix and David Earp at Geron — have broader duties than simply managing a patent portfolio. Other companies, like Burstein Technologies and Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, have lower profiles and more prosaic concerns, like generating enough cash to stay in business. Accordingly, their IP lawyers, Donald Bollella and Melodie Henderson, are in the trenches, not the hallways of K Street. We aren’t smart enough to know which of the technologies and companies presented on the following pages are winners (or dumb enough to make a prediction); investors and customers make that decision. But we think the IP lawyers that we profile are all winners — even if their companies may turn out not to be.

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