Columbia Law School (Courtesy photo)

A former big law attorney and current adjunct professor at Columbia Law School has been hired as general counsel of biopharmaceutical company Life Biosciences, which raised $50 million earlier this year—doubling its initial financing target.  

Amit Shashank

Amit Shashank, a lecturer at Columbia who had a stint as a corporate attorney at Shearman & Sterling, joins Boston-based Life Biosciences LLC after having most recently served as executive vice president, GC and secretary of global design and engineering company Aricent.

Shashank oversaw Aricent’s legal department from 2013 to 2018 and was instrumental in the New York-based company’s $2 billion merger last year with France’s Altran Technologies. 

Life Biosciences is focused on developing medicines to combat aging and aims to “create a future where age-related decline is not a fact of life.” The company operates a 24,000-square-foot research facility dubbed “LifeLab” in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also has established “daughter companies” throughout the world that work on research and product development both “independently and collaboratively.”

Shashank stated in a news release Monday that he was “thrilled to be joining Life Biosciences at this moment in the company’s development.” He added the “company’s pending research and its focus on the underlying pathways of aging offer a paradigm shift from the existing model of drug discovery and development.”

Life Biosciences CEO Mehmood Khan noted the GC plays a critical role at his company, which depends on “complex regulatory approvals” to conduct its research while “actively pursuing strategic alliances and other business opportunities.”

Earlier in his career, Shashank served as executive vice president, GC, chief compliance officer and secretary of ExlService Holdings Inc. and oversaw the New York-based operations management and analytics company’s initial public offering.

Before he went in-house, Shashank worked as a corporate attorney at Shearman & Sterling from 1997 to 2004, after graduating from the University of Michigan Law School. Shashank, a Rhodes Scholar, also has a master’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics from the University of Oxford.