DLA Piper has added bench strength to its northern Virginia offices with the hire of corporate partner Christine Walchuk from Goodwin Procter.
Walchuk advises public and private companies in the pharmaceutical, life sciences, and technology sectors on a broad range of transactions and commercial matters, including mergers, acquisitions, spin-outs, public offerings, licensing, research and development, profit-sharing, and distribution and manufacturing arrangements.
“I’ve done deals opposite DLA Piper attorneys in various transactions at my last couple of firms. Their corporate practice is known worldwide,” Walchuk said. “I will be working very closely with the corporate team here, whether it’s on M&A deals, IPOs, or financings.”
Walchuk said life sciences as an exciting field in law now, given the sheer number of first-in-class therapies that are under development or seeking regulatory approval. Companies in the life sciences and pharma sectors tend to need specialized help with a broad range of issues and challenges, she said.
“I’ve been able to focus a great deal on the licensing and partnering side, to help companies with their transactional needs across the product life cycle, everything from early-stage R&D to manufacturing to getting a product on the market and maintaining it,” Walchuk said.
Walchuk also brings deal-pricing savvy to her new role. A core part of her practice involves helping parties in a merger or sale of assets to arrive at pricing that reflects a fair valuation of the intellectual property, including assets still a long way from being on the market. Pricing structures have grown increasingly complex in recent years, as they must take into account the future value of pharmaceutical products still under development, she said.
“You’ll still see equities exchanged, as in a traditional M&A transaction, but the parties may agree to milestones or royalty payments that come at the back end, after certain commercial achievements have been realized. This shares the risk a little bit, helps the buyers feel that they are getting to see that the technology in question proves itself, and helps each side get a little bit of comfort,” Walchuk explained.