As a law firm, Lindahl's offering within the life science sector is almost unique. What distinguishes the firm's life science operation is the breadth of expertise in combination with long experience. The area emerged at the firm's office in Uppsala and has subsequently spread to other offices within Lindahl. Having been involved from the outset in a place with such a major focus within life science, today Lindahl belongs to the top tier of Scandinavia's law firms within the field.
Lindahl is one of Scandinavia's leading law firms within a number of knowledge-intensive sectors, not least within life science. It is no coincidence that industry expertise emerged at Lindahl's office in Uppsala, to then spread and become successful nationally. Hugo Norlén, partner and head of Lindahl's life science operation, reports:
– Life science has occupied an important position in the Uppsala region for a long time. In Uppsala alone, there are certainly one hundred companies within the sector, with everything from growth companies to listed and internationally successful companies. Lindahl has had the privilege of being involved from the outset and being an active partner in the innovation system in Uppsala and to the different actors within life science, large and small.
The life science sector in the region has emerged from the cutting edge research carried out at Uppsala University (UU), the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and the University Hospital, in close collaboration with the innovation system in the region (with actors such as Almi, Connect Uppsala, Scilifelab, SLU, STUNS, UU and Uppsala Innovation Centre (UIC)). Added to this are the large operators within the sector such as Biotage, Cytiva, Fresenius Kabi Galderma Nordic Q-Med, Phadia (Thermo Fisher Scientific), Orexo and Recipharm.
– We have had the good fortune that numerous innovative researchers and entrepreneurs have been located in our vicinity, which have together created new business opportunities and companies, Hugo continues.
What makes Lindahl's offering so unique within life science is above all the breadth of competence in combination with long combined experience. Life science is not an individual legal area, but rather a combination of several areas within one sector, which requires specific legal expertise. Lindahl has experts within everything from complex commercial agreements, transactions, financing, stock exchange issues, regulatory issues to public procurement – but also, which is of major significance within life science, intellectual property law (IP), data protection and GDPR.
– Life science is a complex sector. The possibility of being able to bring together experience from different situations, legal problems and business means that we are constantly learning more and becoming a better adviser. Lindahl's success formula has been that we have combined wide-ranging expertise that is focused on a specific sector, life science. Our reputation of being good at what we do has spread and today we have clients from all over Sweden, but also abroad, and which have specifically sought out Lindahl for our knowledge in the area, Hugo explains.
With over 25–30 years in the sector and a large number of employees who are in daily contact with life science-related law in different forms, Lindahl consequently has solid competence, which is also conveyed onward to new employees as they join the firm.
"We can stick our necks out and say that our offering is unique in Sweden."
– The fact that we have been able to assemble experience in the life science sector for such a long period, and that we have so many people engaged in it on a daily basis, means that we can stick our necks out and say that our offering is unique in Sweden. The best praise that we can receive from our clients is that we don't just know about the legal bit, but can also contribute our experience on, for example, what is commercially viable, what an investor is usually looking for or what works in international contexts, Hugo says.
An area where you can feel pride
For Hugo, life science is also an area where he can feel pride in the fact that what he and his colleagues work on together with the clients actually contributes to something that is good for humanity, such as development of new treatments, drugs and aids of different kinds.
Something else that Hugo values about life science is that it is an area where you come into contact with the best researchers and the sharpest entrepreneurs within their field and who need precisely what Lindahl offers.
"We become an important cog for the clients and their success journey."
– Our working method often leads to close relations with the clients. We often become an important partner for them as many of our clients do not have their own corporate lawyers. It leads to us working closely with the clients over a long period. We thus become an important cog for the clients and their success journey, which is stimulating in our everyday work, Hugo explains.
– It is often the case that we are involved all the way: from the outset when you meet researchers in an initial stage to help them to set up a company surrounding an innovation, until the company is to be listed or sold, and subsequently continuing to work operationally.
One current example is BioArctic AB (publ), a research-intensive biopharma company which has the aim of developing new treatments to tackle the causes of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Among other things, Lindahl was adviser in connection with start-up of the company and the company's listing on Nasdaq, Stockholm's main market. Today BioArctic is a large cap company.
– The example of BioArctic is so great because the company's licensed drug, the antibody Lecanemab, is the first drug to be approved in the USA against early onset Alzheimer's. This is as big as it gets both for Sweden as a country and a research nation, but naturally also for all the patients affected and their relatives, Hugo reports.
"It is the complexity that makes working with life science enjoyable."
Hugo describes the life science area as general, at the same time as it is complicated and challenging. There's a lot to keep track of, which can involve large values or have great commercial significance and which must absolutely not be wrong, which can naturally sometimes be tough to handle as an adviser. At the same time, it is precisely the complexity that makes working with life science enjoyable.
– It is very stimulating to be a part of the life science sector and to have the privilege within Lindahl to work with so many capable colleagues in a challenging sector. I personally think that it is also especially enjoyable that the life science sector in Sweden is so internationally focused. It also requires that you really feel comfortable largely working in English on a daily basis. Nor do you know whether the next meeting will be with someone at walking distance or sitting in Boston. I can't imagine a more enjoyable job, Hugo concludes.