Interview with RESI Boston Sponsor – Burns & Levinson

18 May
Shawn P. Foley
Interview with Shawn P. Foley, Partner, Burns & Levinson

By Caitlin Dolegowski, Marketing Manager, LSN

Caitlin Dolegowski

Caiti Dolegowski (CD): Introduce us to Burns & Levinson and your Life Science industry focus.

Shawn P. Foley (SF): As a Boston-based firm with more than 125 attorneys, we are large enough to represent clients in complex and sophisticated matters, yet small enough to be very responsive, providing direct partner-level, proactive advice. Burns & Levinson provides sophisticated legal and business advice to life sciences companies throughout their life cycle – from technology and product licensing, patent and trademark procurement and enforcement, and strategic partnering and acquisitions to public and private financings, cross-border transactions, and export regulation compliance. We represent life sciences companies and entrepreneurs around the globe in diverse industries including biotechnology, clinical diagnostics, colleges and universities, health care IT, health care providers, medical devices, medical equipment providers, and pharmaceuticals.

CD: Burns & Levinson has been to several RESI conferences across the country. What do you find meaningful from your time spent with us at RESI?

SF: RESI has given me real life exposure to how venture capital and early-stage life sciences companies find and do business with each other. As arcane a legal specialty as intellectual property law is, having even a fundamental knowledge of the mechanics of how my clients can get funded puts me ahead of the curve.

CD: Thank you to Burns & Levinson for being a Gold Sponsor at RESI Boston June. Could you tell us about the workshop you’re preparing for the early-stage companies who are participating?

SF:  My workshop is an encore of the virtual presentation I gave in March. I stress the fundamentals and familiarize the audience with what patents are, how the Patent Office works, the duration and expense of the process, and what proactive steps an Applicant can take to accelerate the process in order to obtain an issued patent that might be necessary to secure critical funding.

CD: Intellectual Property (IP) is a crucial issue for life science startups to understand. In addition, what other services does Burns & Levinson offer within the Life Science industry that early-stage founders and CEOs should consider?

SF: Services to consider include corporate formation, licensing, seed and angel financing, VC financing, private equity, mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships and collaboration, privacy and data security, employment, and tax to name a few. We introduce clients to our extensive network of life sciences executives, consultants, venture capitalists, investment bankers, accountants, and entrepreneurs – individuals who can help a company identify licensing or collaboration partners, raise capital, provide research and development services, design and perform clinical studies, and more.

CD: On top of legal services, Burns & Levinson describes themselves as connectors. Tell me about what other types of relationships you all work to facilitate for life science entrepreneurs.

SF: We have hosted rehearsals by entrepreneurs to preselected audiences that include potential investors and other interested parties and provided constructive feedback.

CD: What are some of the main challenges from a legal standpoint that first time entrepreneurs face and may not have expected?

SF: The two primary unexpected challenges include the cost of obtaining comprehensive patent coverage in the relevant market, and obstacles presented during the examination/negotiation process.

CD: Almost all early-stage life science companies are still pre-revenue, and many have raised very little funding. How can they engage top quality legal representation from Burns & Levinson? Do you have any programs for these companies?

SF: We work with these clients to identify the “core” aspect of their technology platform, evaluate it in terms of patentability, and then prepare and file a streamlined initial/priority patent application thus creating a contingent patent asset, all of which will buy the client time in which to secure revenue.


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