Healthcare & Life Sciences

Drew & Napier has an award-winning, multi-disciplinary Healthcare & Life Sciences Practice, with expertise in intellectual property, dispute resolution, commercial and transactional, as well as regulatory practices.

Our clients include pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, medical devices manufacturers and governmental agencies.

Drew & Napier was the first Singaporean law firm to be recognised by Asian-Counsel Representing Corporate Asia 2010 as Life Sciences Firm of the Year.

The work of the Life Sciences Practice Group spans across all legal and regulatory areas, and has strengths in intellectual property, dispute resolution and registration work, as well as corporate commercial support. 

Practice Areas  

Dispute Resolution

We are at the forefront of life sciences intellectual property disputes in Singapore. We have successfully represented the world-famous Institut Pasteur, Sanofi and Biorad in enforcing the patent for the HIV-2 virus and diagnostic kits to detect the HIV-2 virus in a ground breaking patent case in Singapore. The Singapore Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the patent owners and dismissed the appeals (See the reported decisions at Institut Pasteur & Anor v Genelabs Diagnostics Pte Ltd & Anor [2000] SGHC 53 and Genelabs Diagnostics Pte Ltd v Institut Pasteur and Another [2001] 1 SLR 121).

We have also successfully represented Novartis AG and Novartis (Singapore) Pte Ltd (“Novartis”) in their application to amend a Patent, post-grant, under section 83 of the Singapore Patents Act. This application to amend was made after Novartis started a suit for patent infringement against Ranbaxy (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd. This is the first reported Singapore case in which the hearing for the patent amendment was heard separately from the main infringement and invalidation hearing. The Singapore High Court found that the proposed amendments did not “add matter” to the Patent, and also that there was no undue delay on the part of Novartis in applying to amend the Patent in Singapore and granted the amendment. (See the reported decision at Novartis AG and Novartis (Singapore) Pte Ltd v Ranbaxy (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd [2012] SGHC 253).

We also represented Becton Dickinson against B.Braun in a patent infringement actiont involving medical devices in Suit 655/2018. This was a multi-jurisdictional action involving proceedings in Singapore, the UK and New Zealand.

We further represented Novartis AG and Novartis (Singapore) Pte Ltd in a novel patent infringement in Singapore in Suit 1062/2019. This matter concerns a product licence for generic medicinal product for the treatment of, inter alia, chronic myeloid leukaemia. The outcome of the suit may have an effect on way public hospitals, pharmacies and oncologists prescribe and purchase medicinal products.

The Practice has also represented Novartis and sanofi-aventis in the following matters:

  • Novartis in Suit 150/2011/R and 1085/2012/G in a patent infringement action involving an invention relating to drugs for treatment of high blood pressure

  • sanofi aventis in Suit 305/2010/Y for alleged infringement of patents in the treatment of breast cancer

  • sanofi aventis in Originating Summons No. 991/2011/L for a determination under Section 16(1B)(c) of the Medicines Act (Cap 176) on issues concerning patent declarations by a generic company

Corporate Commercial and Regulatory

The Practice has expertise and strength in all corporate, commercial and regulatory matters. We have advised many pharmaceutical, life sciences, biotechnology, health care, and food and beverage companies.

These include:

  • Advising on labelling, advertising, as well as sales and promotion regulations for the pharmaceutical, medical devices, and the food and beverage industries

  • Advised a healthcare institution in relation to compliance with medical laws and regulations on promotional programmes

  • Reviewing and drafting clinical trial agreements, research and development agreements, licensing agreements, franchise agreements, funding agreements

  • Advising on all aspects of employments and other regulatory matters, including employment agreements, secondment arrangements, and termination of employees

  • Assisting in the due diligence, negotiations and acquisitions of pharmaceutical products and companies, hospitals and health care institutions.

Some of the matters handled include:

  • Acted for a European based pharmaceutical manufacturer in a high-stakes Exclusive Licence Agreement where the client would acquire worldwide exclusive rights to a pre-clinical platform developed by a Singapore based company. The expected earnout payments in upfront and success-based development and commercialisation milestones are expected to be more than US$1 billion.

  • ​Acted for Lucence Diagnostics in relation to its Series A funding round, which raised US$20 million. The funding round was led by Parkway Holdings Limited, which was coming in as a strategic investor, and was looking to, among others, co-develop solutions with Lucence. The Lucence group, which has offices in the US, Hong Kong and China, develops liquid biopsy tests to detect cancer early and improve treatment selection.

  • Acted for a healthcare-focused equity investment firm’s joint venture with an international private equity firm to invest up to S$20 million in a global medical healthcare group. This includes performing legal due diligence and advising on transactional documents. 

  • Acted for and advised the purchaser in the 100% sale of a leading supplier of multiplexed molecular diagnostic solutions. Under challenging timeframes, we conducted legal due diligence on the target company, and also assisted in the review and preparation of the transaction documentation, including the sale and purchase agreement. We also provided legal advice and assistance under Singapore laws on the transaction and also coordinated and liaised with lead counsel and with clients in Japan. The Sellers also included a French shareholder as part of the sellers’ consortium.


Who’s Who Legal

Life Sciences

Global Elite Thought Leader 2020:
Tony Yeo (Patent Litigation) (debut in 2020)
Benjamin Gaw (2 consecutive years)

Leading Lawyers 2020:
Tony Yeo (10 consecutive years)
Benjamin Gaw (10 consecutive years)

“Drew & Napier [is] recognised as [a] leader in [the] domestic market.”

Tony Yeo of Drew & Napier is a "seasoned litigator" who "stands out among the pack."
Clients commend him for being highly engaged and hardworking" and for always "focusing on the best interest of clients."

“Tony Yeo is recommended across our life sciences chapters for his wide-ranging expertise in the area.”

Benjamin Gaw of Drew & Napier is " precise, knowledgeable and extremely commercial" in his approach, and "particularly good with biotechnology and high-tech issues associated with medical devices and medical systems." Peers call him "efficient and always a delight to work with."

Clients " warmly endorse" Benjamin Gaw for his excellent work in the field of patent law. He is particularly well-regarded for is deep knowledge life sciences and pharmeceutical regulation."

"Benjamin Gaw is one of the region's foremost lawyers in pharmecutical and healthcare regulatory matters."

Asia IP Experts Endorsed Individuals

Tony Yeo - Listed as a leading individual for 3 consecutive years in IP Enforcement, Patents, and Litigation
Listed as a leading individual for Pharma & Biotech for 6 consecutive years

Benjamin Gaw - Leading individual in Pharma & Biotech

Chambers Asia-Pacific
Intellectual Property 2020 - Band 1 for 13 consecutive years

Senior Statesman: 
Morris John

Leading Individual:        
Tony Yeo (ranked Band 1)

Sources say the IP Practice is a "powerhouse in Singapore with very talented lawyers, who think globally while acting locally."

" The strength of the firm is the IP department which is very efficient and whose turnaround time is fast."

The team is also praised for being “very attentive to client needs, technically strong and good at project management," adding that it is "very good at ensuring a seamless service".

"They are really lovely to deal with; very hospitable and well organised. Everything you would expect from a top firm."

"A strong IP practice that provides sound and practical advice." 

“The team is very responsive, knowledgeable and hard-working. Their grasp of details is impressive.”

“They are a very strong team, especially when it comes to contentious IP work.”

Chambers Global
International & Cross-Border Capabilities 2019 – Leading firm

Chambers Global says that “The firm has especially well-developed international capabilities in the contentious arena.The team is very active in international arbitration, cross-border investigations, contentious and transactional IP and regulatory work across the South-East Asian region, India and China.”

The Asia Pacific Legal 500
Intellectual Property 2020 - Tier 1 for 21 consecutive years

Leading Individual:
Tony Yeo for 10 consecutive years
Intellectual Property 2020 - Hall of Fame - Tony Yeo

Next Generation Lawyer: 
Meryl Koh for 4 consecutive years

A fantastic legal team. They work closely as one unit. Their depth of knowledge, aggressiveness in litigation strategy and business savviness is outstanding.’

Sources say that Drew & Napier's “’very sharp team' provides 'practical business-focused advice' on all types of IP assets”

“Drew & Napier LLC’s ‘tenacious’ team is ‘meticulous and strategic in providing advice, seeing the big picture while drilling down into the finer points’.”

“Drew & Napier is the best there is when it comes to litigation.”

“The lawyers at Drew & Napier LLC excel in their ‘knowledge of local legislation’ and litigation.”

Tony Yeo is a “fantastic strategist and a great litigator”.

Meryl Koh is noted for “her great eye for detail, as well as an ability to see the big picture”.

“[Cecelia] is flexible in responding to clients’ needs.”

Managing Intellectual Property
World IP Survey 2019: Singapore - Leading IP firm for 20 consecutive years

Singapore Trade Mark Prosecution IP Firm of the Year 2019

Singapore Prosecution IP Firm of the Year 2018

Singapore Contentious IP Firm of the Year 2014-2017

Ranked top tiers in the following areas: Patent Contentious; Trade mark Prosecution; Trade mark Contentious

Leading firm in Patent Prosecution and Copyright & related rights

IP Stars 2020:

Tony Yeo – Trade Mark Star and Patent Star in Patent litigation, Patent prosecution, Trade Mark litigation, Trade mark prosecution  

Sources say that Drew & Napier is “definitely, a prominent team for any type of IP work”

“Definitely, a prominent team for any type of IP work”

“Tony is responsive, quick thinking and highly practical in his advice.”

“Tony [Yeo] is charming, knowledgeable, and has a knack of explaining things simply and in the context of the overall strategy. He is an effective litigator and is incisive in cross-examinations."

“Particularly forceful in IP litigation”. 

“They are hard-working, thorough and responsive, and understand well the client’s objectives and resolve disputes effectively and efficiently.”

Asia IP 
Intellectual Property 2019 – Tier 1 for 8 consecutive years

Singapore Patent Firm of the Year 2019
Singapore Trade Mark Firm of the Year 2018
Singapore Patent Firm of the Year 2017-2018
Singapore Trade Mark Firm of the Year 2012-2016

Patent Prosecution – Tier 1
Patent Contentious – Tier 1
Trade Mark Prosecution – Tier 1
Trade Mark Contentious – Tier 1
Copyright – Tier 1

Sources say that “Drew & Napier is a go-to firm for contentious IP work”

“Tony Yeo offers creative lawyering and business acumen.” 

IAM Patent 1000
Litigation and transactions – Gold band in 2019
Prosecution – Recommended in 2019
Transactions – Recommended in 2019

Endorsed Individuals:
Tony Yeo – Gold band for litigation (2019)

Sources say that Drew & Napier LLC “remains “one of the best” at what it does. With its “tremendously hardworking” team offering “sensible commercial advice” and applying “great strategic thinking” to every patent matter, it is a one-stop shop that “you can trust, always feeling that your case is in safe hands”.”

Drew & Napier’s “enviable share of the Singaporean patent prosecution market and its frequent appearances in the courtroom are testament to the trust accorded it by both Singaporean and foreign clients…”

“On an equal footing with the big global legal brands”, local player Drew & Napier casts a long shadow on Singapore’s patent landscape.

Managing Director of Intellectual Property Tony Yeo is most at home when resolving intricate patent disputes on behalf of major clients in the healthcare and life sciences arenas. Renowned for his silver-tongued advocacy, Yeo is a master of cross-border and technically advanced patent infringement suits.

A certified patent valuation analyst, Yvonne Tang regularly serves up discerning IP strategy guidance to her dedicated roster of clients – while (Lim Siau Wen) is described as a “very responsive” practitioner who “does a great job at a competitive rate”.

Consultant and all-rounder Cecelia Girvin dispenses invaluable, commercially on-point advice to the group’s host of household-name clients.

Asian Legal Business Magazine
ALB South East Asia Law Awards 2019 – won Singapore Intellectual Property Firm of the Year for the second time

Intellectual Property rankings 2020 (Singapore) – Tier 1 in the areas of Patents and Trademarks/Copyrights for 8 consecutive years

Asialaw Profiles
Intellectual Property 2016 to 2021 – Outstanding practice for 6 consecutive years

Intellectual Property 2013 to 2015 – Highly recommended practice

Elite Practitioner
Tony Yeo for 4 consecutive years

Sources say that “the quality of work and service is excellent – a notch above most of the other premier law firms.”

“Highly competent on the technical aspect of the deal, practical and commercial, not pedantic and responsive.”

The IP team at Drew & Napier provides very high quality of work…They are timely in their responses and strategic in thinking and very knowledgeable in their specialist fields.”

“Provides reliable services in a cost-efficient manner.”

Tony Yeo was recommended by his client as someone who has “great depth of knowledge. Very Savvy. Fantastic litigator.”

Asian-Counsel – Representing Corporate Asia Survey
Life Sciences 2010 – First Singaporean firm to be awarded Firm of the Year
Practical Law Company Which Lawyer?
Life Sciences 2011/2012 – Recommended firm for 5 consecutive years

Endorsed individuals
Life Sciences 2011/2012
Tony Yeo
Benjamin Gaw

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