Elan loses fourth lawyer as Mason Hayes swoops

Irish pharmaceutical giant Elan has lost its fourth senior lawyer in the wake of its major restructuring.

In the latest move, Martin Kelleher, a biotech lawyer, has joined Dublin firm Mason Hayes & Curran (MHC). His transfer coincides with the law firm’s launch of a life sciences department, developing on its previous ad hoc work in this area.

Elan has seen a rash of recent departures from its legal team following the hiving-off of its sales and distribution arm in February to Medeus Pharma for $120m (£66.9m).

At the beginning of March, Elan’s most senior lawyer, vice-president Tom Maher, joined Matheson Ormsby Prentice as head of life sciences. Elan associate director Karen Holmes also joined Mathesons as an assistant. Prior to their departures, Elan only instructed Mathesons on smaller matters, giving most of its corporate work to A&L Goodbody.

Elan’s second in command, former senior vice-president and general counsel Colin Sainsbury, joined Irish firm BCM Hanby Wallace in January.

For the last two years, Kelleher, who joins MHC as a senior assistant, has undertaken business development work for Elan in the US. This followed six years of specialising in legal advice on the discovering and developing of Elan’s medical products.

His move comes at a crucial time because of growth in Irish government investment in biotech. “The sector’s predicted to be a major basis for future Irish economic growth, and MHC will focus on both inward investment and early stage biotechnology companies,” said MHC managing partner Declan Moylan.

Life science companies are also attracted to Ireland because of its favourable tax regime, and 17 out of 20 of the world’s healthcare groups have operations in Ireland.