Vaccine development expert
for breach of contract suit

The need

Attorneys at an AM Law 100 firm defending a multinational biotech company against a lawsuit alleging breach of contract, negligence, and unjust enrichment needed an expert in vaccine development to make their case. The lawsuit, brought by a former partner and developer of vaccines for government agencies, alleged that the defendant backed out of a subcontract to manufacture a vaccine without providing the plaintiff with a suitable alternative for manufacture. Thus, forcing them to find another partner to fulfill the contract and redo work the defendant had already completed. There was a lot at stake for the defendant. The plaintiff sought a full refund of the originally paid fees and damages incurred in hiring a replacement manufacturer, transferring the manufacturing, and redoing work.

Our approach

From conversations with the client, we understood that they primarily needed the expert to advise in preparation for the case: assisting in evaluating and investigating specific issues, helping out on questions related to answering the Complaint, framing discovery requests, and discussing complex issues with the client. Previous testifying experience was not essential, but the ideal expert would be selected based on their perceived ability to be an effective witness.

The expert

We found an expert with over 20 years of experience as a consultant providing expert advice on biopharmaceutical process development and manufacturing to dozens of firms. He often oversaw all development issues for firms bringing new therapies from research to market. For several years he served as a professor at a prominent life sciences college, where he founded its bioprocessing program and served as Director of its Bioprocessing Center. Additionally, he worked at a top biotech firm for ten years in process development and manufacturing sciences. He developed a first-of-its-kind core technology now used for dozens of commercial products. He had two chemical engineering degrees, a Ph.D., and a B.S. from top universities. Finally, he had used his expertise to serve as a testifying expert witness in several matters. The case was resolved favorably for the defendant with the allegations of negligence and unjust enrichment entirely dismissed and the allegation of breach of contract held but reduced to three specific task orders. The contract itself was found unenforceable.