Winstead Sechrest & Minick P.C. Release: Winstead Launches Biotechnology Practice

DALLAS, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Winstead Sechrest & Minick P.C. announced today the launch of a full-service biotechnology practice and the addition of four new biotech and pharma legal experts. Winstead's Biotechnology Practice Group, along with today's new additions, are dedicated to supporting the corporate legal needs of clients involved in the bio-medicine, bio-science, medical devices, nanobiotech and pharmaceutical industries.

The new practice leverages the vast proficiency Winstead has developed over the last several years in supporting various clients in the biotechnology, life science, nanotechnology and information technology industries. The team of highly-skilled professionals will provide business and legal acumen and guidance to start-ups, corporations, entrepreneurs, inventors, universities and venture capitalists who want to create, fund, commercialize and launch their biotech and pharma discoveries to worldwide markets.

"For the past several years, Winstead's lawyers have helped numerous biotech companies grow from the initial start-up phase, through public and private financings, licensing and partnership agreements, protecting and exploiting IP assets, to mergers and acquisitions and exit strategies," said W. Mike Baggett, chairman and CEO of Winstead. "Today's announcement is intended to inform the biotechnology and pharmaceutical communities of our already developed expertise and concerted focus and dedication to assisting clients with their legal needs."

Serving as chair of the new Biotechnology Practice is Jeff Harder, a 25-year legal veteran and authority on the biotechnology industry who joined the firm in May 2004. He has served in private practice and as in-house counsel, and has represented numerous biotech, life science and technology companies in a variety of complex corporate matters.

Harder will lead a team of approximately 30 biotech and legal professionals, a number of whom possess Ph.D.s and extensive knowledge and background in various scientific disciplines, including biochemistry, genetics, and organic chemistry. Harder and the new members will fortify the firm's ability to guide biotechnology clients through the highly competitive industry. Team members also have proven experience in supporting biotechnology clients in a variety of legal matters, including raising hundreds of millions of dollars in funding through IPOs, subsequent public offerings and private placements, building biotechnology patent portfolios, forming strategic alliances and partnerships and taking new ideas through the challenges of product development, patent and FDA approval and regulatory endorsement.

"Turning scientific discovery into commercial success is never easy," said Harder. "The risks and challenges that biotech companies face in developing new technologies are huge -- but so are the potential rewards. Our team of professionals has assisted numerous biotech companies achieve success, from helping build a fully-integrated biotechnology company from a university spin- off, to offering advice on raising money to exploit a client's invention, to securing new opportunities to transfer and license the invention."

In addition to the biotech practice group launch, Winstead also announces new biotechnology experts joining the firm. They include three attorneys: Carol M. Nielsen, Dr. Melissa D. Schwaller, and Dr. Mark S. Solomon, and a patent agent, Dr. Rudeina A. Baasiri.

Nielsen joins Winstead as a Shareholder and will be located in the firm's Houston office. Prior to Winstead, she practiced law at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, where she represented clients in all areas of IP law including litigation, licensing, patent prosecution, patent infringement and the procurement and maintenance of IP rights. Her practice has a special emphasis in pharmaceutical and chemical arts and she has represented clients in the drug, medical device, chemical, petrochemical and environmental industries. Nielsen is admitted to practice before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Texas and Illinois and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh and Federal Circuits. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas and Illinois.

Joining Winstead as associates are Schwaller and Solomon, both possessing Ph.D.s and extensive scientific and technical backgrounds.

Schwaller, located in the firm's Dallas office, has a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Baylor College of Medicine, where her doctoral research involved the study of thiol-disulfide mechanisms, enzymology and protein folding. She received her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. Prior to Winstead, Dr. Schwaller served as a patent agent and technical advisor for Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP before attending law school.

Dr. Solomon is based in the firm's Houston office. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law (summa cum laude), and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Emory University, where his doctoral research involved novel synthetic methodology for the preparation of target pharmaceutical compounds. He is the recipient of three U.S. patents for chemical process inventions. Prior to joining the firm he served the Houston law firm of Moser, Patterson & Sheridan, LLP in patent preparation and prosecution, and served as a chemical expert for Bayer Corporation. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas and is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Dr. Baasiri joins Winstead as a patent agent in the Biotechnology Practice and is also based in the firm's Houston office. She received her Ph.D. in microbiology and molecular plant pathology from Texas A&M University and has research expertise in the fields of molecular genetics, microbiology, plant sciences, cell biology and bioinformatics. She comes to Winstead from Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, where she served as a patent agent and provided patent support to Nielsen and various firm clients. Prior to joining Gardere, Dr. Baasiri was a scientific advisor in the General Counsel Office at Baylor College of Medicine. She is admitted to practice before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Winstead also announced recently that Daniel F. Perez, one of Texas' top IP litigators, joined the firm as a Shareholder and member of its IP Litigation Practice.

"Winstead is dedicated to advancing its position both regionally and nationally as a leader in the highly competitive biotechnology industry, and adding Dan, Carol, Melissa, Mark and Rudeina will help us do just that," said Kelly Kordzik, Chair of Winstead's IP Section. "On behalf of Winstead and the entire Biotechnology Practice and IP Section, I would like to welcome them to the firm."

Winstead Sechrest & Minick is among the largest business law firms in Texas with more than 320 attorneys and 30 practice areas. Winstead has offices in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and The Woodlands, Texas, Washington D.C., and Mexico City. For detailed information about the firm, visit .

Winstead Sechrest & Minick P.C.

CONTACT: Joey D. Mooring of Winstead Sechrest & Minick P.C.,+1-214-745-5308, or ; or Lori Goggan, +1-713-970-2100,or , for Winstead Sechrest & Minick P.C.

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