Legal Business Blogs

Rising stars: Dr Chris Boyle – ‘AI is going to have a transformative impact on the life sciences industry’

Dr Chris Boyle, counsel at Sidley, on the risks and opportunities facing the industry

What do you most enjoy about being a life sciences lawyer?

My passion for science led me to qualify and practice as a veterinary surgeon before I discovered that scientists and clinicians are uniquely placed to make a big impact in law, and I requalified as a life sciences lawyer. The best thing about being a life sciences lawyer is that I can harness my scientific interest and knowledge to serve clients on a far greater scale than I could in veterinary practice, to help them develop the health technologies and services of tomorrow. It is particularly helpful to ‘speak the same language’ when I am advising on matters that require interactions with healthcare professionals and regulators – for example it has proven key in assisting clients with NICE health technology assessments.

What do you see as the key challenges facing the life sciences sector right now?

As policymakers seek to overhaul life sciences legislation, one of the biggest challenges is to ensure that the life sciences sector remains attractive for investment, so that innovative new technologies can continue to be developed and made available to patients with unmet needs. Therefore, all eyes are turned towards the upcoming changes to the EU pharmaceutical legislation, particularly in relation to IP regulatory rights and exclusivities for orphan medicines.

What impact do you think AI is going to have on the industry?

AI is going to have a transformative impact on the life sciences industry. Health data is both being created, and is becoming accessible, on an unimaginable scale. AI is the key that will enable the sector to unlock extraordinary new innovations. AI brings opportunities and risks and, as landmark proposals for a new EU AI act attest, lawyers will play an important role in balancing the opportunities with the risks.

What do you think are the key skills you need to succeed as a lawyer in life sciences?

You don’t have to be a scientist to be a successful life sciences lawyer, but you need to be passionate about science, enjoy analytical thinking, have an enquiring mind, and have a deep understanding of the life sciences industry.

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