VVGB is an independent international law firm, currently composed of seven partners of various nationalities and in total 17 lawyers, all members of the Brussels Bar, Belgium. Founded in 1996, we advise companies, investment funds, industry associations and governments in various areas of the law. Our independent and international profile means that we are perfectly equipped and positioned to resolve the most complex domestic and cross-border challenges, while ensuring an efficient service at an affordable price tailored to the particular needs of our clients.
Our signature approach is to work in small teams of dedicated and specialized lawyers committed to deliver skilled and tailor made solutions that meet the needs of our clients and that are designed to be globally implemented. Our diverse teams are perfectly equipped to find a way in the myriad of legal systems that businesses and governments are confronted with in the national and international arena. We have established an international network of highly skilled and specialized life science lawyers, including patent lawyers, that we regularly work with in the USA, the UK, Switzerland, France and Germany enabling us to assist our clients internationally in a swift, experienced, knowledgeable and highly reliable manner.
Our clients in the life sciences industry vary from large multinational pharmaceutical and chemical companies that are market leaders to early stage, developing and late stage biotech, diagnostics, and med-tech companies. We also assist a series of life sciences venture capital funds. Independence and discretion are always guaranteed to ensure that our clients receive a service that is top quality and perfectly tailored to their needs.
We strive to build a personalized, long-standing relationship with our clients and we put great efforts into thoroughly understanding the science and business behind the companies we serve.
We have been at the cradle of the Belgian and Dutch biotech industry and can offer more than thirty years of experience. We are currently counsel to approximately thirty companies and investment funds active in the life sciences industry in the Benelux, France, Switzerland, the UK and the USA.
Head of the Life Sciences Practice: Mr. Peter Verhaeghe
Peter Verhaeghe is the managing partner of VVGB Advocaten / Avocats. His areas of expertise include corporate, corporate finance, contract and tax law. He has extensive industry related experience and knowledge in the biotech, pharmaceutical, consumer products, retail and media sectors of the economy. He is the current head of the Life Sciences practice of the firm.
Mr. Verhaeghe graduated magna cum laude in law from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 1981. From 1981 to 1983, he was an assistant professor of tax law at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. He earned his LL.M. at Harvard Law School in 1984. He speaks fluently Dutch, French and English, and has a working knowledge of German. He started his career in private practice with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP (“CGSH”) in 1984 in New York. Thereafter through 1992 he worked in the Brussels and London offices of CGSH. From 1993 through the middle of 1999 he was an equity partner with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP working from the Brussels office with legal and tax activities throughout the EU, Africa and the former USSR. In 1999 he joined forces with Edwin Vermulst to lay the founding of the VVGB law firm.
Mr. Verhaeghe represents major European, American and Asian multinationals and medium-size enterprises in all sectors of the economy. He has significant corporate and tax experience in advising clients on the establishment and functioning of holding and trade companies as well as, distribution and service centers in Europe. He has also extensive experience in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, structuring and negotiating joint ventures, privatizations of state-owned enterprises, project finance, and private equity transactions in all sectors of the economy, real estate transactions and all kinds of debt and equity offerings. In addition,
Mr. Verhaeghe has represented over the years several media and entertainment groups, as well as numerous biotech and pharmaceutical companies with respect to their intellectual property rights and the legal and tax aspects of their financing needs. In the Benelux Mr. Verhaeghe has acted as lead counsel to companies such as Tibotec-Virco, Galapagos, Movetis, Biocartis, argenx, AS Adventure, Merisant, Fenwal, Monsanto, and Baxter ( Fenwal).
Mr. Verhaeghe has acted as lead counsel for direct investment, private placements, public offerings, project finance and privatization projects in various countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Russia, Morocco and the United States of America.
Mr. Verhaeghe has published in various publications on a variety of Belgian and international corporate and tax issues. He was a member of the board of editors of Fiscale Actualiteit, a major Belgian tax periodical published by Wolters Kluwer België N.V. He is a member of the Legal and Taxation Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Brussels. Mr. Verhaeghe is a member of the Brussels Bar, the International Bar Association and the International Fiscal Association. He has acted in 1998 and 1999 as the national reporter for Belgium on tax developments for the International Bar Association.
He is a past Member of the Board of Directors of Tibotec-Virco NV (Belgium), Innogenetics NV (Belgium) – now Fujirebio Belgium , KBC Private Equity Biotech (Belgium), Bever Zwerfsport Investments BV (The Netherlands), PharmaNeuroBoost NV (Belgium), Biocartis SA (Switzerland), Merisant Company 2 sàrl (Switzerland), CzechPak Manufacturing sro (Czech Republic) as well as past Chairman of Merisant France SAS (France). He has been also liquidator of KBC Private Equity Biotech NV, a Euronext listed biotech fund. He is currently Chairman of the Board of argenx SE (The Netherlands), Chairman of the Board of Directors of Haretis S.A. (Luxembourg) and Member of the Board of Directors of Participatiemaatschappij Vlaanderen (PMV) (Belgium).
Senior Associate Life Sciences Practice: Mr. Emmanuel Casier
Emmanuel Casier is Senior Associate at VVGB Advocaten/Avocats. He is an experienced business lawyer, advising both national and international clients and specializing in corporate, M&A, corporate finance and private equity law.
He is equally specialized in various commercial/strategic commercial type agreements that constitute the core of our life sciences practice. He masters the arena of intellectual property rights and handles all kinds of corporate, tax and commercial litigation (in and out of court).
Mr. Casier holds a Master of Law degree, cum laude, from the Katholieke Universiteit van Leuven (2011). He also obtained an LL.M. in Competition law and Intellectual Property law, magna cum laude, from the Université de Liège (ULg) in 2012.
He has published in various journals on a variety of Belgian corporate, commercial, procedural and tax issues.
Mr. Casier is a member of the Brussels Bar.
Our Life Sciences Practice
We advise our life sciences clients in various areas of the law that affect them, i.e.:
- The creation and maintenance of their intellectual property (IP) rights, their IP defense strategy and the actual defense in court of their IP rights.
- Assistance with respect to our clients’ corporate and tax structure at the various stages of their development over time as a function of the product portfolio and the goals of key management, board of directors and shareholders. Assistance in corporate governance for privately held and publicly listed companies. Assistance with obtaining tax incentives for the life sciences industry ( e.g. ruling for the innovation deductions, exoneration of professional withholding tax etc.)
- Employment law, as well as corporate and tax law assistance with respect to our clients needs in HR matters and related compensation matters specific to the life sciences industry (e.g., employments agreements, self employed consultancy agreements, scientific advisory board agreements, warrant and stock option plans, all forms of equity related compensation e.g. restricted stock unites, performance stock, etc.)
- Assistance with respect to all contractual matters going from NDA/CDA’s, Material Transfer Agreements, and Proof of Concept Research agreements, to full fledged R&D strategic collaboration agreements and (exclusive and non exclusive) license and distribution agreements.
- Assistance in all aspects of the various stages of corporate financing of our life sciences clients going from friends, family and fools (FFF) and seed capital financing rounds as well as A/B/C /… private placement rounds with sophisticated venture capital investors to public listings on Euronext, AIM, or NASDAQ, as well as private /public trade sale / takeover transactions
- Assistance with respect to the various forms of non dilutive financing for the life sciences industry in Belgium and the Netherlands ( regional, national and EU subsidies in different forms)
- Assistance with respect to all regulatory aspects of the life sciences industry in particular guidance on EMA/ FDA approval procedures and tracks
- Assistance with respect of reimbursement of pharmaceutical products in Belgium and the Netherlands
- 2018 BOUTIQUE LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR – BELGIUM (Corporate USA Today)
- 2017 Cross Border Corporate Transactions Law Firm of the Year in Belgium (2017 Corporate Intl Global Awards)
- Corporate Finance Advisory Firm of the Year Belgium (2013 Finance Monthly Global Award)
- Project Finance Law Firm of the Year in Belgium (2013 Global Law Experts Practice Award)
- Independent Law Firm of the Year in Belgium’ (2012 Corporate International Magazine Global Award)
- Boutique Law Firm of the Year – Belgium (2012 InterContinental Finance Magazine Global Award)
- Best Corporate, Tax & Contract Law Firm Belgium (2012 Lawyers World Country Awards)