Shepherd and Wedderburn is the largest Scottish-headquartered UK law firm, providing cutting-edge life sciences advice to clients. We are ideally placed to advise clients in the UK and internationally through our own network of offices and as a founder member of World Services Group – a global network of 130 member firms operating across 145 jurisdictions. 

Our life sciences team comprises top-ranked intellectual property, technology, corporate, employment and immigration specialists, all with broad experience advising clients across the sector.

We act for clients ranging from publicly listed, blue chip and large corporates to start-ups, spin-outs and small to medium-sized enterprises operating across the life sciences, pharma and medtech sectors. We also regularly advise international clients investing in the UK, and clients closer to home when transacting abroad.

We pride ourselves on building longstanding relationships of trust and our commitment to quality is at the heart of everything we do.

We advise our life sciences clients on a wide range of business critical matters including:

Mergers and acquisitions

  • Purchase and sale of companies or their assets (including in licensing)
  • Private equity-backed transactions including MBOs and MBIs
  • Capital markets transactions, including initial public offerings (IPOs)
  • Cross-border merger activity

Fundraising and financing

  • Formation activities including shareholder and founder arrangements
  • IPOs and subsequent capital markets fundraising
  • Debts funding
  • Private equity-backed transactions including growth/development capital investments

Collaborations and joint ventures

  • Advising on structuring and implementation documentation
  • Due diligence
  • Funding
  • Shareholders’ agreements

Protection of intellectual property

  • Intellectual property strategy from early stage R&D through to licensing and defence
  • Prosecution of trade marks and trade mark portfolio management
  • Advising on infringement of intellectual property

Distribution and agency agreements

  • From both supplier and customer perspectives

Research and Development, clinical trial agreements and technology transfers

  • Technology procurement and outsourcing
  • Intellectual property transfers and licences
  • Clinical trial agreements
  • Master services agreements
  • Commercialisation agreements

Employment and incentivisation arrangements

  • Protection of confidential information through tailored restricted covenants
  • Transactional support in sales, acquisitions and restructures
  • 'One-stop shop’ for international businesses employing in multiple jurisdictions
  • Employment essentials for start-ups (contracts, policies and HR support) 
  • Bespoke employee incentivisation schemes

Specialist immigration advice

  • Support for employers in obtaining licences from the Home Office to sponsor international workers
  • Supporting employers in complying with Home Office Rules, duties and regulations
  • Helping with visa applications for key international workers
  • Supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups obtain the necessary visas and permissions to undertake activity in the UK
  • Providing advice and support in respect of EU workers impacted by Brexit

Competition and regulatory advice

  • Advising on competition law aspects of commercial and research agreements
  • State aid and public sector support
  • IP and competition law
  • EU Commission and UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigations into breaches of competition law in the context of generic pharmaceuticals
  • Wider regulatory matters, such as regulation of medical devices and pharmaceutical products under UK and EU law

Using and exploiting data

  • Data protection/EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance, including in relation to clinical trials
  • Requirements relating to data collection
  • Data sharing and big data access/exploitation in regulated industries
  • International data transfers
  • Responding to data breaches
  • Acting as EU Representative under GDPR


  • Their service is excellent. The Shepherd and Wedderburn team is responsive, well-informed and generally great to work with.

    Eric Lund, CEO, MedSource

  • The team provides an excellent level of service and there is tremendous depth to their advice.

    Client testimonial, Chambers and Partners 

  • The team at Shepherd and Wedderburn get it. They have a full grasp of our business and what we are trying to achieve.

    Pooja Jain, Founder of CogniHealth  

  • Shepherd and Wedderburn is a top-class law firm. Its lawyers are very commercially pragmatic, understand our business needs and deliver a great service with good humour. They really do stand out from the crowd.

    Andrew McLean, General Counsel, Kyowa Kirin



Aircraft Medical Limited
Advising on $110 million sale to Covidien Group S.a.r.l.
Kyowa Kirin International
Advising on international GDPR obligations and employment matters.
Advised on software development and sales and distribution agreements for its high resolution digital colposcope.
TauRx Therapeutics
Advising on queries arising out of clinical trials and on data protection and regulation.
Nexus Oncology Ltd
Acted for the shareholders of Nexus Oncology in connection with the sale to Ockham Development Group (Holdings) UK Limited.
TMC Pharma Services
Acted for TMC Pharma in developing its agreements with international clients to provide regulatory and clinical trial services.
Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service
Advised on the spin-out of Alba Bioscience, a major bio-manufacturing organisation, including advice on identification of required IP and cell lines, technology transfer and supply agreements.
University of Aberdeen
Advised on all aspects of the university’s collaboration agreement with the Institute of Life Sciences (Sri Lanka). We also advised on the transfer of patents in relation to shark antibodies to its existing licensee.
Collagen Solutions plc
Advising on the acquisition of the assets of Orthomimetics Limited and on fundraisings, development and supply agreements.
Advising on its corporate financing, protection of intellectual property and technology and immigration queries.