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Herbert Smith has dealt a blow to Bird & Bird by securing the hire of rated life sciences partner David Wilson.
Bird & Bird had made a concerted, two-month attempt to persuade Wilson to stay, but has ultimately failed. It is understood that Wilson is central to the firm's advice to key client Sanofi-Aventis in a matter scheduled for the Patent Court in April.
Wilson, who has been a partner at Bird & Bird since 2001, will join Herbert Smith's IP group. The hire is in line with the firm's ambition to become a leading adviser to the niche life sciences sector.
Herbert Smith head of IP Nick Gardner said: "I believe his appointment means we now have two of the country's leading pharmaceutical patent litigators in our team. I'm confident this will lead to further growth in our IP practice."
Wilson will work closely with head of life sciences Andrew Rich. His start date is yet to be finalised, but Bird & Bird is expected to hold him to several months' gardening leave. Wilson's experience includes successfully advising on two recent high-profile patent disputes, Transkaryotic Therapies v Kirin-Amgen and Celltech v Medimmune. His client list also includes Pfizer, Baxter and Sanofi-Aventis.