Sarah Cooleybeck


I help innovative life sciences companies get the best possible terms in their licenses and other commercial agreements.

With 25 years of experience in the life sciences industry and deep knowledge of intellectual property law, Sarah Cooleybeck helps her clients protect their IP and achieve business goals in their patent and technology licenses, strategic collaborations, and a full range of research, development, manufacturing, and services agreements.

Sarah offers practical, business-focused advice to companies developing and commercializing pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices, drug-device combinations, drug delivery platforms, diagnostics, artificial intelligence, digital therapeutics, gene therapy, vaccines, synthetic biology, and other technology.

For companies spinning out from or partnering with academic institutions, Sarah negotiates options, sponsored research agreements, material transfer agreements, subawards, and licenses. Once emerging companies have a product ready to take into development, she efficiently manages the agreements necessary to get into the clinic and to market, including evaluation, development, master services (MSA), CDMO/process development, CRO, clinical trial, supply, quality, commercialization, and distribution agreements. When a company is entering into a strategic partnership, her extensive experience and attention to detail ensure that complex IP, financial, and liability terms align with the client’s goals.

Sarah stays abreast of current market terms and proposes creative solutions when business goals require “outside the box” thinking. Her business advice benefits from her familiarity with the regulatory environment in which life sciences companies operate, and from her prior experience litigating patent infringement and licensing disputes. She is transparent about costs and timing, using regular status calls, budget updates, and other project management tools to make sure legal work meets expectations. 


  • Harvard Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1995
  • University of Michigan, A.B., high honors, 1990

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit


  • MedRhythms in a license agreement with Biogen (Nasdaq: BIIB) to develop and commercialize MR-004, an investigational prescription digital therapeutic for the potential treatment of gait deficits in multiple sclerosis, for $120.5 million in upfront and potential milestone payments, plus royalties
  • Intellia Therapeutics (Nasdaq: NTLA), in a cross-border collaboration with SparingVision using Intellia’s proprietary CRISPR/Cas9 platform to develop new gene therapies directed to up to three ocular targets, for a 10% equity ownership stake in SparingVision, milestone payments of up to approximately $200 million per product, and royalties, as well as an option to US commercialization rights for two of three targets 
  • Leading synthetic biology company Ginkgo Bioworks (Nasdaq: DNA) in various agreements, including:
    • with Merck (NYSE: MRK) for up to $144 million in commercial milestones, plus upfront and research milestones, to engineer enzymes for use as biocatalysts in Merck’s active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing efforts
    • with Novo Nordisk (NYSE: NVO) to create novel expression hosts for pharmaceutical products addressing diabetes and other serious chronic diseases
    • with Biogen (Nasdaq: BIIB) to develop a next-generation recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) production platform
    • with Twist Bioscience (Nasdaq: TWST) a supply agreement under which Twist will supply high volumes of synthetic DNA to support Ginkgo’s fast-growing cell programming platform 
    • with Microba Life Sciences (ASX: MAP) to identify single-strain, live bacteria product candidates for use against autoimmune diseases
    • with Agenus (Nasdaq: AGEN) and its subsidiary SaponiQx to develop saponin molecules for high-efficacy and long-lasting protection for pandemic vaccines
    • with Givaudan to accelerate development and enhance Givaudan's portfolio of taste and scent ingredients
    • with Sumitomo Chemical Co. to significantly increase the production efficiency and sustainability of a key bio-based commercial product
  • Ginkgo Bioworks in the launch of Concentric by Ginkgo, the company’s public health and biosecurity initiative, to provide COVID-19 testing solutions to states, cities and school districts
  • Dicerna Pharmaceuticals in a global collaboration and license agreement with Roche to develop and commercialize a treatment for chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection, for more than $1.67 billion in upfront and milestone payments, plus royalties
  • LG Chem Life Sciences in a $900+ million multi-target, strategic collaboration announced with CUE Biopharma that provides LG Chem with the Asia rights to Cue Biopharma’s lead immuno-oncology CUE-101 program, products in two other programs, and a worldwide option for another antigen-focused biologic

Honors & Involvement

  • Harvard Law School, Harvard Law Review, Editor
  • Served as a law clerk to Judge Patti B. Saris of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts