Davis Polk & Wardwell, Ropes & Gray, Sullivan & Cromwell and Slaughter and May have taken top roles on the sale of US-based biotech company Dyax to Shire for $5.9bn (£3.8bn). 

Slaughter and May advised longstanding client Shire, with a team including corporate partner Martin Hattrell, finance partner Azadeh Nassiri and competition partner Claire Jeffs. 

The Dublin-based pharmaceutical company also turned to an US team from Ropes & Gray, with M&A partners Christopher Comeau and Paul Kinsella both involved, alongside tax partners David Saltzman and William Jewett, and life sciences partner Albert Cacozza. 

Davis Polk & Wardwell additionally fielded an antitrust and competition team led by litigation partner Joel Cohen. 

Meanwhile the target Dyax was represented by Sullivan & Cromwell corporate partner Krishna Veeraraghavan, based in New York. He was assisted by employment partner Matthew Friestedt, tax partner Davis Wang and antitrust partner Steven Holley. 

The acquisition is intended to enhance Shire’s position in treating rare genetic diseases. The deal has already been approved the boards of directors and is expected to close in the first half of 2016. 

Background to the deal 

Shire has kept Davis Polk, Ropes and Slaughters busy over the past year, with a variety of planned acquisitions and takeover offers. 

According to The Lawyer Market Intelligence (LMI), Shire turned to Slaughters and Davis Polk when AbbVie announced its planned takeover of the company, while Ropes is advising alongside Slaughters on Shire’s $34bn (£21.8bn) offer for Baxalta.

Shire recently hired a new group general counsel over the summer, with Boston-based Bill Mordan joining from Reckitt Benckiser. Dyax’s legal chief Andrew Ashe is also based in Boston and has been with the company since 2004.