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Southern California “Lawyer of the Year”

John E. Wehrli is honored as 2022 "Lawyer of the Year" in Biotechnology and Life Science Practice in San Diego.

Southern California “Lawyer of the Year”
Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers

November 19, 2021 07:00 AM

Dedicating nearly 40 years of his professional career to the life sciences industry, John Wehrli is currently working as a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in San Diego, having contributed to a wide array of multi-billion dollar deals in his time there. Blending his entrepreneurial spirit with his love for science and engineering, Wehrli has continually aimed to help guide life science companies through the complex and somewhat stressful process of intellectual property litigation. Currently, Wehrli is being recognized by Best Lawyers as a 2022 “Lawyer of the Year” in San Diego for Biotechnology and Life Sciences Practice.

“I’ve devoted my entire professional life working in the life science industry as a scientist, entrepreneur, public company executive and life science lawyer in private practice. I have always said that what I love about my job is serving an industry that I love because, at a minimum, it improves the quality of life of tens of millions of people every year, and often saves them. How many industries can say that? Every person in the industry is invaluable, from lab-tech to CEO. It is rewarding that I can play my part by helping my clients structure company defining and industry changing complex cross-border strategic transactions that result in products that improve quality of life around the world.”

Previously, Wehrli worked as a research chemist at Syntex/Roche and as an associate at the U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory as well as actively being involved in biological research at UC San Diego for over a decade.

“I believe if you are a scientist first and foremost, you will always be able to see things others can’t. This is an industry defined by science, rights are defined by science and the boundaries that define legal relationships depend on precision in defining and understanding that science yet able to translate it into the lingua franca of law. Life science is dynamical, so must be the life science lawyer. To be maximally successful you must understand the lingua franca of law, science and business and be a walking Rosetta Stone as you marry all three.”

Most recently, Wehrli aided in the completion of a strategic collaboration between two major Japanese pharmaceutical companies.

”Our Japanese client JCR Pharmaceuticals and Japanese pharmaceutical giant Takeda collaborated for a novel recombinant fusion protein for the treatment of Hunter Syndrome, a very debilitating genetic metabolic disease. What is unique is that this product crosses the blood brain barrier via transferring receptors into neuronal cells so can treat neuronopathic aspects of the disease on the CNS.”

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