A big pharmaceutical company called on Morrison & Foerster partner Thomas Ciotti and associate Mika Mayer in April, eager to spend $10 billion on a biotech outfit. The drug maker needed due diligence on the target’s intellectual property portfolio. Two months of vetting uncovered serious problems with the biotech’s patents, and Ciotti and Mayer advised the client to drop the acquisition.

“They wanted to do the deal so badly, they hired another law firm to look at the portfolio,” Ciotti recalled. “But they must have gotten the same assessment, and the deal never went through.”