Sara A. Needles

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Covington & Burling LLP
One CityCenter
850 Tenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-4956
Tel: +1 202 662 5634
Fax: +1 202 778 5634




  • University of North Carolina School of Law, J.D., 2010
    • with high honors
    • Order of the Coif
    • North Carolina Law Review, Executive Articles Editor
  • Cambridge University, M.Phil., 2005
  • University of Pittsburgh, B.A., 2002
    • summa cum laude
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia

Sara Needles represents pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients in complex licensing, collaboration and joint venture arrangements, strategic acquisitions and divestitures of pharmaceutical companies and products and other commercial transactions in the life sciences industry.

Ms. Needles advises clients ranging from early-stage ventures to large public and private companies on all aspects of transactional matters. Her expertise includes structuring, drafting and negotiating manufacturing and supply agreements, clinical trial agreements, consulting and services agreements, Hatch-Waxman litigation settlement agreements, as well as other general corporate and securities matters.

Representative Matters

  • Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited in a collaboration and licensing arrangement with ImmunoGen, Inc. to develop and commercialize targeted anticancer therapeutics using ImmunoGen’s proprietary antibody-drug conjugate technology.
  • AstraZeneca in its $325 million divestiture of Myalept® to Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, its divestiture of worldwide rights to Ethyol® to Clinigen Group plc and its divestiture of rights to 17 formerly marketed injectable products to IGI Laboratories, Inc.
  • Asuragen, Inc., a privately held molecular diagnostics company, in connection with the sale of Asuragen’s miRInform Thyroid and Pancreas laboratory-developed cancer tests to Interpace Diagnostics, a subsidiary of PDI, Inc.
  • MedImmune, AstraZeneca's biologics arm, in its acquisition of Amplimmune for $225 million upfront and additional potential milestone payments
  • Actelion Ltd. in its acquisition of Ceptaris Therapeutics for $250 million upfront and additional royalty and potential milestone payments
  • Eisai Inc. in its divestiture of US rights to Gliadel® Wafer to Arbor Pharmaceuticals.
  • Global pharmaceutical company in structuring, drafting and negotiating collaboration transaction agreements.
  • Global pharmaceutical company in possible joint venture with a start-up biotechnology company.
  • ExxonMobil in forming the Marine Well Containment Company, a joint venture created to respond to future deepwater well blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico
  • LIN Television Corporation in its issuance of $200 million of senior notes.

Previous Experience

  • Oxford University Press, Production Editor
  • Cambridge University Press, Project Manager

Pro Bono

  • Advising several Washington, DC-area non-profit organizations on corporate restructuring, governance matters and commercial real estate transactions.
  • Providing analysis and advice to governmental bodies on State practice relating to witness and victim protection mechanisms and war crimes prosecution.

Publications and Speeches

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