Mayer Brown ejects Camerons to advise CAT on OGS takeover

Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw has nudged aside Cambridge Antibody Technology's (CAT) former corporate adviser CMS Cameron McKenna to advise on CAT's proposed £110m agreed all-share takeover of Oxford GlycoSciences (OGS).

Prior to the merger with Rowe & Maw, US firm Mayer Brown & Platt advised CAT on an international share offering in 2000 and also on its Nasdaq listing in 2001, but this is the first time that the London team has worked with the company. Partners Paul Maher, Mark Uhrynuk and Fiona Holland are leading the Mayer Brown team.

Camerons' relationship with CAT has been hit by the departures of contact partners Nick Callister Radcliffe to Practical Law Company and, before that, of Julian Thurston to Arnold & Porter.

When Thurston first moved, Arnold & Porter and Camerons entered a client-sharing agreement. Thurston continued to advise CAT on licensing agreements while Camerons handled the corporate work. That relationship has now been blown apart by Mayer Brown. Camerons declined to comment.

CAT's offer has sparked a bidding war with rival biotech companies. OGS has confirmed that it has received requests for information from a number of companies, including Celltech Group, which is being advised by long-term corporate adviser Allen & Overy.

A&O corporate partner Colleen Keck has developed a biotechnology speciality. Keck's relationship with the company goes back to its 1992 flotation and then its £700m merger with Chiroscience.

Other parties thought to be interested in making a bid include UK cancer specialist Xenova and Swiss biotechnology company Actelion.

Xenova has been forced to abandon its regular adviser Slaughter and May due to a conflict. The company said that it had yet to instruct an alternative law firm.

Slaughter and May's Nilufer Von Bismark is advising Oxford GlycoSciences.