Graham Defries

Graham Defries

Graham Defries
+44 (0)20 7447 4827

Graham Defries is a partner in the firm’s Life Sciences group. Graham advises biotech companies, pharmaceutical companies and investors in the life science sector on private equity and venture capital investments/exits, M&A, IPOs, and collaboration/licensing transactions.

Graham has been recognized by Chambers UK 2024 as a leading individual for Life Sciences: Transactional where he has been ranked for the past 14 years.

Graham is recommended by the Legal 500 UK 2024 for M&A and Life Sciences & Healthcare. Clients note that Graham is ‘simply the best. He is sharp, reads the room well, hugely experienced and advises clients on all aspects of the transaction.’

Graham is also ranked in the 2022 edition of IFLR1000 for M&A in the pharmaceuticals and life sciences sectors.

Prior to joining Goodwin in 2018, Graham was the head of the London life sciences practice at Dechert LLP.


  • Advising the shareholders of Emergence Therapeutics on its sale to Eli Lilly and Company (pending)
  • Advising 30 Technology on the sale of its antimicrobial nitric oxide platform in certain applications to Convatec Group Plc (LSE: CTEC) for up to £176 million (including milestones and royalties)
  • Advised DJS Antibodies on its acquisition by AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV)
  • Advising Ducentis BioTherapeutics Ltd on its acquisition by Nasdaq listed Arcutis Biotherapeutics, Inc. for up to $400m, including upfront cash of $16 million and Arcutis stock valued at about $14 million, plus future contingent payments based on development and commercial success
  • Acting for MiroBio, a privately held U.K.-based biotechnology company focused on restoring immune balance with agonists targeting immune inhibitory receptors, in its pending sale to Gilead for cash consideration of $405 million
  • Advising UK-based RSV company ReViral on its sale to Pfizer, Inc. for up to $525 million
  • Advising Biocon Biologics Ltd. in its $3.335 billion (cash up to $2.335 billion plus stock in BBL valued at $1 billion) acquisition of Viatris Inc.’s (NASDAQ: VTRS) global biosimilars business
  • Advising Xenikos B.V. in connection with a convertible note financing by Veloxis and a simultaneous granting of an option to acquire the shares of Xenikos
  • Advising Centessa Pharmaceuticals Limited on:
    • its initial public offering on NASDAQ which totaled $379.5 million
    • the completion of its $250 million financing round in parallel with the simultaneous acquisition by Centessa of 10 private biotech companies across four jurisdictions
  • Advising Enterprise Therapeutics Ltd on the demerger and subsequent acquisition of its TMEM16A potentiator portfolio by Roche for an upfront consideration of £75 million and significant potential milestone payments
  • Advising Inflazome Limited and its shareholders on the sale of 100% of its equity share capital to Roche for total initial consideration of €380 million
  • Advising KaNDy Therapeutics on its sale to Bayer for $425 million upfront with up to $450 million in development milestone payments and triple digit millions in commercial milestones
  • Advising Symprove Holdings Limited and its shareholders, on the sale of 100% of its share capital, to bd-capital for a total initial consideration of approximately £40 million
  • Advising NodThera Limited on its $55 million Series B equity financing
  • Advising Y Combinator’s Continuity growth fund as lead investor on a Series F investment of £113 million ($144 million) into Monzo Bank Limited
  • Advising Bicycle Therapeutics plc in its IPO on Nasdaq in the U.S.
  • Representing the lead investor LSP Health Economics Fund 2 (advised by Life Science Partners) on the $28 million series C equity financing round of Lumeon Limited
  • Advising Exscientia Limited (an AI-driven drug discovery company) on its $26 million series B equity financing round. The Investors were Celgene Corporation, GT Healthcare Capital Partners and Evotec AG.
  • Staten Biotechnology B.V. on its strategic collaboration with Novo Nordisk A/S to develop novel therapeutics for the treatment of triglyceride dyslipidemia, by way of an option to acquire structure
  • Advising Gadeta on its strategic collaboration with Kite (a Gilead company) to develop novel gamma delta TCR therapies for the treatment of various cancers, by way of an option to acquire structure
  • Representing the new investors BioDiscovery 5 PFCI (advised by Andera Partners) and LSP 6 Cooperatief UA (Life Science Partners) on the £65 million Series B equity financing round of Artios Pharma Limited
  • Prexton Therapeutics B.V. and its selling shareholders, including M Ventures, in its sale to global pharmaceutical company H. Lundbeck A/S for up to €905 million*
  • Biocon Limited, Asia’s premier biopharmaceutical company, in the negotiation of an exclusive global collaboration agreement with Sandoz, a Novartis division, to develop, manufacture and commercialize multiple biosimilars in immunology and oncology for patients worldwide*
  • The shareholders on the sale of Stat-Dx, a privately owned Spanish diagnostics company, to QIAGEN N.V., for $191 million (including milestones)*
  • Bicycle Therapeutics Limited on its £40 million Series B equity financing round, led by Vertex Global Fund I alongside Cambridge Innovation Capital and Longwood Fund, with existing investors including Novartis Venture Fund, SR One, and SVLS also participating in the round*
  • The selling shareholders in Ziarco Group Limited in connection with the sale of the company to Novartis*
  • Cellnovo, an innovative biotechnology company, on its IPO in compartment C of the Euronext regulated market in Paris, raising €31.56 million through capital increase, with a market capitalization of €113.6 million*
  • Egalet, a fully integrated specialty pharmaceutical company, on its IPO on NASDAQ, which raised $54.8 million*
  • The shareholders of AM-Pharma B.V. on the sale of a minority interest in the company to Pfizer Inc. and the grant of an exclusive option to Pfizer to acquire the remaining equity in the company, exercisable upon completion of a Phase II trial of recAP in the treatment of acute kidney injury related to sepsis, for an upfront payment of $87.5 million and additional potential payments of up to $512.5 million upon option exercise and potential launch of any product by Pfizer.XO1 Limited on its sale to Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ( an affiliate of Johnson & Johnson)*
  • XO1 is a UK-based company developing Ichorcumab, a novel anticoagulant to treat Thrombosis, in its sale to Janssen Pharmaceuticals*
  • The shareholders of biopharmaceutical company Covagen AG in relation to the sale of Covagen to the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson*
  • ProFibrix B.V. in connection with its sale (by way of an option agreement) to Nasdaq-listed The Medicines Company*
  • UK-based life sciences company Funxional Therapeutics Ltd. on the sale to Boehringer Ingelheim, the German pharmaceuticals company, of the global rights to its FX125L compound and somatotaxin program, used to treat a broad range of inflammatory diseases*
  • Cellzome, Inc. the leading proteomics technologies R&D company with laboratories in the UK and Germany, in connection with its $99 million sale to GlaxoSmithKline plc*
  • PanGenetics BV and its selling shareholders in connection with the sale for $190 million of a chronic pain compound (PG110) to Abbott Laboratories pursuant to a Dutch/ UK demerger process*
  • Biocon, India’s leading biotechnology company, in its strategic global agreement with Pfizer, Inc. for the worldwide commercialization of Biocon’s biosimilar versions of insulin and insulin analog products, for an up-front fee of $200 million and milestone payments of $150 million*
  • A consortium led by Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners in a £30 million Series B financing round for Cellnovo Limited, the developer of the first mobile diabetes management system*
  • * Denotes experience prior to joining Goodwin.

    Professional Experience

    Graham serves on the London committee of the Cornwall Community Foundation, a charity which aims to alleviate social deprivation in Cornwall. He is a past chair of the London Advisory Board of Maggie’s Centres, a UK charity which builds and runs centers which offer psychological and emotional support, as well as practical advice, to cancer sufferers.




    College of Law, Guildford


    Oxford Brookes University



    • England & Wales

    Recognition & Awards

    Graham was recognized for excellence in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom.

    Graham was recognized by Chambers UK 2024 for his work in Life Sciences: Transactional.

    Graham was ranked in the 2022 edition of IFLR1000 for M&A in the pharmaceuticals and life sciences sectors.