Clyde & Co hires Novartis UK legal chief to open IP practice

The head of legal at biotechnology company Novartis UK is leaving to join Clyde & Co.

Novartis was created by a merger in 1997, and Sally Shorthose, who set up the in-house department, will head the firm’s new commercial intellectual property (IP) and IT practice.

Before moving to Novartis, Shorthose was senior legal adviser at pharmaceutical company ICI/Zeneca.

At Clyde & Co she will launch a commercial IP/IT practice, working alongside eight lawyers currently practising out of the corporate finance group.

Clyde & Co corporate finance partner Tim Matthews says: “It’s an area of practice that has developed so quickly over the last few years that we wanted a big hitter to run the group. It was part of corporate finance, but while that was fine five years ago, things are moving really fast and we need a separate group.”

The practice’s clients already include Dell Europe, Ericsson, Nokia and MicroGen. At the moment, the firm is not acting for Novartis UK.

Matthews says: “We’re looking forward to speaking to Novartis, but we don’t have any specific plans for taking on work.”

Novartis AG, the parent company to Novartis UK, is based in Switzerland, and is the largest life sciences company in the world. It was formed out of the merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz in 1997, which at the time was the second-largest corporate merger in history.

The legal department at Novartis UK uses a panel of law firms that is believed to include Herbert Smith.

Neither Shorthose nor Novartis UK was available to comment as The Lawyer went to press, but the company is believed to be in the process of interviewing for a replacement.