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Colin Sainsbury

Colin Sainsbury

Corporate Counsel csainsbury@byrnewallace.com +353 1 691 5277
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Colin acts as Corporate Counsel in the Corporate Department with extensive experience in international transactions and equity investments in Ireland. Colin is widely recognised as a leading expert in the life sciences, medical device and technology sectors.

Colin's clients include a broad range of companies operating in the life sciences and related sectors including biotechnology, pharmaceutical and med tech companies, research institutions and government institutions such as: Alimentary Health,  Alkermes, Apica Cardiovascular, Azur Pharma, Biogen-Idec, DCU, Elan Corporation, i360, GenCell Biosystems, Jazz Pharma (Azur Pharma), Merrion Pharmaceuticals, NUI Galway,  Ovagen Limited,  Proxy Biomedical, Quintiles, Q3 Medical Devices Limited, Shire Pharmaceuticals, Shionogi.

Colin also acts for a number of companies in the Food and Beverage Sectors who are increasingly becoming involved in intellectual property based transactions and related financings.

Colin is an active member of the Licensing Executives Society Laws Committee (Britain and Ireland) and the Irish American Chamber of Commerce Research & Development Committee (which has engaged with a number of state agencies). For four years Colin was a member of the Business Law Committee of the Law Society of Ireland.

From 1996 to 2002 Colin was vice president and general counsel of Elan Pharmaceutical Technologies (Elan’s drug delivery division). In 2002 Colin was promoted to senior vice president and played a leading role in the restructuring of Elan that involved the sale of assets worth in excess of $1.8 billion. Colin was also centrally involved in managing the legal aspects of the SEC investigation into Elan’s accounting policies and the related litigation involving class action suits by some Elan shareholders.  Prior to joining Elan Corporation plc in 1994 Colin worked as a solicitor with another Dublin law firm.

Key transaction experience

The following are some examples of clients and/or transactions in which Colin has acted:

  • Advised 3D4Medical on the sale of a 38% stake in the company (valued at US$16.4 million) to Malin Corporation plc.
  • Advised Alimentary Health on a number of transactions, including agreements with Mead Johnson, Procter & Gamble and Norgine.
  • Advised Alder Biopharmaceuticals in connection with the incorporation of an Irish subsidiary and related matters.
  • Advised Altan Pharma on the sale of a 65% stake in the company to Malin Corporation plc; and on the Irish aspects of its acquisition of the Spanish GES Group.
  • Advised Amarin on its US$100 million hybrid debt including financing with Biopharma.
  • Acted for Amryt Pharmaceuticals DAC in connection with the successful reverse takeover of Fastnet Equity plc, which has been renamed Amryt Pharma plc. As part of this transaction we also acted for Amryt DAC in connection with the acquisition of Birken AG and on certain matters relating to the acquisition of SomPharmaceuticals SA and SomTherapeutics, Inc.
  • Providing ongoing advice to Artugen Therapeutics in relation to a range of corporate and commercial matters.
  • Advised Assembly Biosciences on the incorporation of its Irish subsidiary and providing ongoing corporate advices.
  • Advised Avectas Limited on its spin out from NUI Maynooth, various investment rounds and licensing strategy.
  • Advised Azur Pharma on the acquisitions of FazaClo® and Prialt®, and the merger between Azur and Jazz Pharmaceuticals.
  • Providing ongoing advice to B.Braun Hospicare on structural and governance matters.
  • Advised Carbery, Dairygold, Glanbia and Kerry Foods in relation to the conclusion of the original Functional Food Centre (Competence Centre) at UCC; and the conclusion of the second Functional FoodCentre (Food for Health Ireland) headquartered at UCD.
  • Advised Cosmo Pharmaceuticals on its proposed merger with Salix Pharmaceuticals (US$2+ billion).
  • Advised Elan Corporation (now Alkermes) on numerous licensing and other transactions and the merger of Elan Drug Technologies with Alkermes.
  • Providing ongoing advice to ERS Genomics on its licensing of revolutionary genome editing technology, CRISPR-Cas9.
  • Advised the vendors in the sale of Firecrest Clinical to Icon plc.
  • Advised HealthXL on its establishment, structuring and ongoing legal requirements.
  • Advised Heart Metabolics on its US$35 million Series A investment from venBio, Seroba Life Sciences, Australian Super and AshHill.
  • Providing ongoing advices to i360 Medical in relation to corporate and commercial matters.
  • Advised Inflazome Limited in connection with its Series A financing round of up to €15 million, which was led by venture capital firms Novartis Venture Funds and Fountain Healthcare Partners. Also advised on licensing IP and knowhow in connection with this transaction.
  • Advised Mainstay Medical on its IPO on the ESM and the EURONEXT; on its US$20 million Series B financing; and on the relocation of the company from US to Ireland.
  • Advised Meroven in connection with its establishment in Ireland and related corporate matters.
  • Advised Merrion Pharmaceuticals on its listing and on various transactions, including two US$58 million licence agreements with Novo Nordisk.
  • Advised Morningside Investments in relation to their first investment in an Irish life sciences company (Artugen Therapeutics). 
  • Advised Mutares AG on the sale of Suir Pharma Ireland to Saneca Pharmaceuticals. 
  • Advised Neuromod Devices on its €5.5 million investment from Fountain Healthcare Partners.
  • Providing ongoing corporate advice and advice regarding various agreements related to its clinical study. 
  • Advised Nexvet Biopharma plc (NASDAQ:NVET) on its complex corporate reorganisation, and on its fully underwritten US$40 million IPO. 
  • Acted for Ornua (formerly the Irish Dairy Board) on a number of licence agreements. Advised Opsona Therapeutics on various matters, including its Phase I and II clinical trials and the spin-out of Trimod Therapeutics. 
  • Advising Proxy Biomedical on a number of its licence and distribution agreements. 
  • Advised Q3 Medical Devices on various fundraisings totalling approximately €48.6 million, corporate restructurings, commercial contracts and strategic transactional matters. 
  • Advised Sharecare, Inc on Irish aspects of its acquisition of certain companies owned by Healthways, Inc. 
  • Acted for the shareholders of Techno-Path Distribution on its 80% sale to publicly listed Diploma PLC and on put and call agreements with regard to the remaining shareholding. 
  • Advise animal nutrient innovator Tonisity International on its Irish establishment and operational requirements. 
  • Advised numerous international clients in connection with the establishment of their Irish operations (including by way of branch or company). 


  • BA (Mod) (Legal Science) Trinity College Dublin, 1981
  • Admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in England and Wales, 1984


"Colin Sainsbury is hard to fault on any level." - Chambers Europe, 2024

"Colin Sainsbury is very thorough, considers the position of the company very well and is commercially oriented and practical." - Chambers Europe, 2024

"Colin Sainsbury is a pleasure to work with. He is extremely responsive." - Chambers Europe, 2024

"It is a pleasure to work with Colin Sainsbury." - Chambers Europe, 2024

"Colin Sainsbury is great to work with and extremely knowledgeable on all matters." - Chambers Europe, 2024

"Colin Sainsbury has excellent problem-solving abilities." - Legal 500, 2024

"Colin Sainsbury provides us with a great deal of his time and attention. He personally looks after our needs and is an important asset for our business." - Legal 500, 2024

"Colin Sainsbury is an important support to us in our work. With a background of extensive practice experience in our field, we very much appreciate his energy and focus, and the attention he gives to fully understanding and responding to our needs. We greatly value this relationship. Colin is a pleasure to work with." - Legal 500, 2024

"Colin Sainsbury provides a high level of personal attention that you would not receive in other firms." - Legal 500, 2024

Colin was honoured with Hall of Fame status for his expertise in Healthcare and Life Sciences by Legal 500, 2023.  

“Colin Sainsbury is a great partner to work with. He is knowledgeable, timely and delivers quality work.” - Chambers Europe, 2023

“He has great experience in the life sciences area. He is adept at finding solutions and is commercially aware.” - Chambers Europe, 2023

“Colin Sainsbury is an exceptional legal counsel who exudes confidence.” - Chambers Europe, 2023

“Colin Sainsbury has exceptional knowledge of both the local and global markets and can be leaned on for help at any time.” - Chambers Europe, 2023

“Colin Sainsbury is a great partner to work with. He is knowledgeable, timely and delivers quality work.” - Chambers Europe, 2023

“He has great experience in the life sciences area. He is adept at finding solutions and is commercially aware.” - Chambers Europe, 2023

“Colin Sainsbury is an exceptional legal counsel who exudes confidence.” - Chambers Europe, 2023

“Colin Sainsbury has exceptional knowledge of both the local and global markets and can be leaned on for help at any time.” - Chambers Europe, 2023

Hall of Fame, Healthcare and Life Sciences - Legal 500, 2023

‘Colin Salisbury is thorough and experienced.’ - Legal 500, 2023

‘Colin Sainsbury demonstrated considerable experience in the area, a clear understanding of the issues and a strong skill set when it came to negotiations. He also went above and beyond in his efforts to serve.’ - Legal 500, 2023

‘Colin Sainsbury is a trusted and reliable partner. He always gives timely, reliable, and relevant counsel.’ - Legal 500, 2023

Described by Legal 500 2022 as a "Leading Individual - Healthcare and Life Sciences" - Legal 500, 2023

‘Colin Sainsbury is personable and very easy to engage with.’ - Legal 500, 2022

‘Colin Sainsbury was excellent at cutting through some of legal content and clarifying IP cost impacts and possibilities. I believe we concluded with a fair win-win agreement.’ - Legal 500, 2022

‘Led by Colin Sainsbury, the Byrne Wallace team provided exceptional support to our recent M&A transaction. The transaction was managed in-house so the ByrneWallace support was more extensive than would be normal. The ByrneWallace team gave the transaction top priority and were integral to the transaction closing on schedule.’ - Legal 500, 2022

'Colin Sainsbury is polite, friendly and highly professional in all matters. Colin’s experience in such negotiations was obvious from the outset. The deliverables speak for themselves. As legal counsel there is a clear recognition that we are seeking to build a long-lasting relationship.' - Legal 500, 2022

'Colin Sainsbury has very extensive experience in life sciences that has been invaluable in finalising negotiations.' - Legal 500, 2022

'Colin Sainsbury brings to bear extensive experience in transactions within the life sciences industry. He also advises clients on commercial agreements and funding rounds.' - Chambers Global, 2022 and Chambers Europe, 2022

Colin Sainsbury is best known for his handling of life sciences-focused mandates, including the negotiation of licence and collaboration agreements. A client states: "He provides an excellent service." - Chambers Europe, 2022

‘Colin Sainsbury has impressed me with his client dedication. He approaches the attorney-client relationship like a business/legal partner and not just a lawyer. He is dedicated to overall client success and it shows in every interaction.’ - Legal 500, 2021

‘I particularly value Colin Sainsbury as a contact partner – I find him very approachable and his depth of expertise, perspective on the life sciences field, and openness to discuss specific needs as well as general concerns, together, give me confidence.’  - Legal 500, 2021

'Colin Sainsbury brings tremendous depth of experience in life sciences and pharmaceutical. Thorough and creative.' - Legal 500, 2021

‘Colin Sainsbury is hugely knowledgeable, experienced, gracious and most importantly responsive.' - Legal 500, 2021

Colin Sainsbury regularly handles M&A and capital markets transactions in the life sciences sector. Clients say: "He is a very good lawyer who is attentive to client needs and gives sound advice." - Chambers Global, 2021 and Chambers Europe, 2021

Clients say that Colin Sainsbury is "highly adept at finding creative solutions." He is best known for his handling of life sciences-focused mandates, including the negotiation of licence and collaboration agreements.- Chambers Europe, 2021

Described by Legal 500 2020 as a "Leading Individual - Healthcare and Life Sciences" - Legal 500, 2020

"Colin Sainsbury did an excellent job managing the project." - Legal 500, 2020

"Colin Sainsbury is considered and effective." - Legal 500, 2020

"Colin Sainsbury has excellent sectoral (life sciences) knowledge and experience. Creative and thorough in finding solutions." - Legal 500, 2020

"Colin Sainsbury is simply at the top of the league in IP in Dublin." - Legal 500, 2020

"Colin Sainsbury is without compare when it comes to knowledge and skill set in the life science arena." - Legal 500, 2020

"Colin Sainsbury is a particularly noteworthy attorney. He very responsive and ensures that the work provided is in line with our requests and needs." - Legal 500, 2020

"Colin Sainsbury has been invaluable in providing corporate guidance as well as transactional advice given his broad experience in the life sciences field." - Legal 500, 2020

"Colin Sainsbury has fantastic experience." - Legal 500, 2020

"Colin Sainsbury has extensive legal knowledge in shareholders' agreements." - Chambers Europe, 2020

"Colin Sainsbury is easy to work with and approachable." - Chambers Europe, 2020

Colin Sainsbury has a great knowledge of the life sciences sector and can always provide advice on the trickiest of legal scenarios. - Chambers Europe, 2020

Ranked by Chambers & Partners Europe 2019 as a Tier 1 Lawyer. - Chambers Europe, 2019

Colin Sainsbury is a hugely respected practitioner with unparalleled expertise across the full spectrum of life sciences instructions, including financing, intellectual property and strategic development. - Chambers Europe, 2019 

Clients say: "He brings a personal touch to every interaction we have with him. He is undoubtedly one of the leading experts in his field in Ireland, and we have enjoyed working with him very much as he is hard-working and will go the extra mile." - Chambers Europe, 2019

Colin Sainsbury is able to 'sort through the complexities of cross-border transactions and to navigate the nuances of Irish corporate law'. - Legal 500, 2019

Described by Legal 500 2019 as a "Leading Individual" - Legal 500, 2019

Sources say he is a "very proactive and business-oriented corporate lawyer who is always responsive." - Chambers Europe, 2019

Colin Sainsbury advises clients from the life sciences sector on transactions, investments and commercial agreements. - Chambers Europe, 2019

Market commentators appreciate Colin Sainsbury's "detail-oriented but practical approach." One client says: "He brings his considerable deal-making experience in the life sciences and pharmaceutical space to bear on our interactions with partners big and small." - Chambers Europe, 2018

Colin Sainsbury has a "good reputation on IP licensing and exploitation" and is "a big name" in the life sciences sector, according to market commentators. - Chambers Europe, 2018

Clients appreciate that he is "generous with his time and advice." - Chambers Europe, 2018

Life sciences practice head Colin Sainsbury singled out for his knowledge of the pharmaceutical sector. - Legal 500, 2018

Sainsbury ‘outlines options clearly’. - Legal 500, 2018

Colin Sainsbury is ranked as a Leading Individual by Legal 500, 2018

The unrivalled Colin Sainsbury has an enviable cache of industry experience, with one client describing his mixture of legal and business acumen as a "compelling combination." He is revered for his transactional expertise and is "particularly good in licensing and commercial agreements." He acted for Nexvet Biopharma on the closing of its IPO on the NASDAQ. One client says: "He understands our business intuitively and provides fantastic support," lauding him as "very customer-focused." - Chambers Europe, 2017

Colin Sainsbury possesses considerable knowledge of licensing agreements and transaction-related IP law, with significant expertise in the life sciences sector. Clients advise: "He is very experienced, incredibly diligent and responsive." - Chambers Europe, 2017

Clients say that Colin Sainsbury "gives good advice and is very responsive." He routinely acts for clients from the life sciences sector on acquisitions and investments. Sainsbury acted for 3D4Medical on the acquisition by Malin of a 38% shareholding in the company. - Chambers Europe, 2017

Colin Sainsbury leads on life sciences matters at ByrneWallace and has ‘deep knowledge of the pharmaceutical sector, in particular international licensing agreements’. Sainsbury recently advised Amryt Pharma on the reverse takeover of Fastnet Equity. - Legal 500, 2017

Colin Sainsbury is ranked as a leading individual by Legal 500, 2017

Colin is recommended Chambers Europe, Chambers Global for both Ireland and as a USA expert based      

Colin Sainsbury comes recommended for his corporate activity in the life sciences sector, as well as for his knowledge of technology and IP-related issues, and his experience of matters involving US-based clients. Sources describe him as "commercially astute, with a good perspective in terms of how to get a deal done," adding: "He is an excellent communicator and deals with all parties involved very impressively." - Chambers Europe, 2016

Described as 'very commercial' - Legal 500, 2015

An expert in medical technology, Colin Sainsbury assisted Heart Metabolics with a USD20 million financing round. One interviewee reveals that "he has a high level of integrity and protects the interests of the company very well." He is well versed in mandates involving major US-based investors - Chambers & Partners (Global), 2015

Colin Sainsbury is broadly acknowledged for his extensive expertise in life sciences IP: "He has great industry knowledge, and there is very little he hasn't seen before in terms of deal dynamics and specifics." Sainsbury recently advised Merrion Pharmaceuticals on the complex IP arrangements of its strategic partnership with Hovione. Sources consider him a "calm and assured" lawyer with "great gravitas." -  Chambers & Partners (Europe), 2015

‘Few firms have the level of industry expertise’ of ByrneWallace. Head of life sciences Colin Sainsbury has ‘detailed knowledge of the pharmaceutical sector’. - Legal 500, 2015

Life sciences head Colin Sainsbury is lauded for his "excellent understanding of healthcare, pharma and drug delivery." - Chambers & Partners (Global), 2014

According to sources, Colin Sainsbury "has an industry mindset. His advice is direct, clear and always in the interests of the company. He gives us all scenarios and possibilities but takes a pragmatic view that allows us to move forward as a business." - Chambers & Partners, 2014

On the life sciences side, Colin Sainsbury is noted for his active practice and impressive client base. Peers regard him as a “real specialist” in the sector.  - Chambers & Partners (Global), 2013

Colin Sainsbury is highly recommended for his life sciences expertise. Clients say "when we want to work with someone who really knows what the Pharma industry is about, we choose Colin" - Chambers & Partners, 2012

Colin Sainsbury "is among Dublin's leading experts in the life sciences industry." He specialises in transactions involving pharmaceuticals and medical devices.  - Chambers & Partners, 2011 

Colin Sainsbury is a key player in the life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors and sources refer to him as "a top expert in the IP field".  - Chambers & Partners, 2010 

ByrneWallace has "highly responsive and pragmatic partners" and a particular niche in pharmaceutical and healthcare matters, with former Elan general counsel Colin Sainsbury singled out for "business savvy combined with good knowledge of the industry" - Legal 500, 2010