Legal Business


  • US general counsel and senior vice president of legal operations: Gabe Holdsman.
  • General counsel and company secretary: Paul Mussenden.
  • Team headcount: six lawyers.

Healthcare company BTG is described as the ‘shining light’ within the UK-listed biotech and speciality pharma sector. With a portfolio of interventional medicine products designed to advance the treatment of illnesses, including liver tumours, severe blood clots, and advanced emphysema, the business has gone through dramatic growth, with its market capitalisation increasing from under £200m to £3bn via organic growth and five acquisitions in six years during an era where the sector has suffered decline.

The legal team, headed by general counsel (GC) and company secretary Paul Mussenden, has been at the heart of BTG’s corporate activity and heavily involved throughout the company’s expansion, including directly negotiating or managing acquisitions or litigation. The team’s workload in 2014 involved extensive pharmaceutical regulatory work in the US, the establishment of operations in Asia and BTG’s largest-ever deal, a $475m acquisition of PneumRx and related £150m equity fundraising.

Former Norton Rose lawyer Mussenden is ‘intimately involved’ in the key strategic decisions of the business and oversees the legal functions and business issues, with operations in Asia, Europe and the east coast of the US. Meanwhile, Elaine Johnston moved to senior associate GC less than six months after joining the company in summer 2014, while senior legal counsel Neil Payne has also been at BTG for a relatively short period of time – joining in 2013 from Roche.

One law firm partner comments: ‘When instructing outside counsel, he [Mussenden] grants precisely the right amount of autonomy, while providing the requisite commercial input to the documents and negotiations. His understanding of BTG’s business is remarkable, especially given its breadth and changing nature. He also manages and trains a team of very high-calibre lawyers across multiple jurisdictions who clearly like and respect him.’