Article by Jenna Greene // Reuters
Oct 19 (Reuters) – With 10 eyes and a helmet-like exoskeleton, horseshoe crabs could pass for sci-fi aliens. But Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati partner Vern Norviel has spent so much time thinking about them in recent years, he told me, that he’s “come to find them very cute.”
Norviel’s interest in the imperiled crustaceans stems from his pro bono work on behalf of wildlife conservation organization Revive & Restore. Together, he and his client have been pushing regulators to approve a synthetic alternative to the crab’s valuable blue blood, which is used to test the safety of vaccines and other injectable medicines.
A patent lawyer focused on life sciences, Norviel and his Wilson Sonsini colleagues for the past 10 years have provided legal guidance to Revive & Restore, which seeks to protect endangered species and restore ecosystems through biotechnology and genetic engineering.
Revive & Restore executive director Ryan Phelan credits Norviel and his team for their “help with guiding us on a very complicated regulatory path,” as well as advising on intellectual property, contracts and other ongoing legal issues to support the non-profit’s work.
as quoted in the Reuters article
The number of horseshoe crabs, which have been scuttling around shallow coastal waters since the age of dinosaurs, has plunged. Hundreds of thousands are harvested each year for their blood, which clots when it comes into contact with specific toxins and is used by pharmaceutical companies to test for bacterial contaminants.
With help from Wilson Sonsini, Revive & Restore has been advocating for the adoption of a synthetic alternative. A breakthrough came in August, when standard-setting body U.S. Pharmacopeia proposed new guidelines for non-animal-based endotoxin testing techniques. Public comments on the proposal open next month.
Revive & Restore executive director Ryan Phelan credits Norviel and his team for their “help with guiding us on a very complicated regulatory path,” she told me, as well as advising on intellectual property, contracts and other ongoing legal issues to support the non-profit’s work.