Alan Steele, Life Sciences Patent Attorney with Significant Medical and Basic Research Background Joins Foley Hoag as Counsel

A former practicing physician and basic medical research scientist with a Ph.D. in chemistry, Dr. Steele prosecutes patent applications and manages IP portfolios for biotech and pharmaceutical clients as well as start-ups and academic research facilities; the former medical school professor, researcher, and board-certified physician has patented several of his own inventions.

September 9, 2010

In a noteworthy expansion of its intellectual property practice, Foley Hoag LLP announced that Alan W. Steele, an accomplished patent attorney and former practicing physician, faculty member and medical researcher at Harvard Medical School with several patents to his name, has joined the Boston office as Counsel.  He was previously a patent attorney with Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C., of Boston.

Dr. Steele, who earned his J.D. in 2002 after more than 15 years as an academic physician in internal medicine, nephrology, and transplant immunology, prosecutes and manages global patent portfolios for leading life sciences and pharmaceutical companies as well as academic and research institutions.  He has also directed and assisted foreign counsel in patent prosecution outside the U.S., including opposition proceedings before the European Patent Office.

Additionally, Dr. Steele has worked with many patent examiners at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office as part of the prosecution process and performed IP due diligence, freedom-to-operate, patentability, and inventorship studies on behalf of clients.

Dr. Steele has experienced the patent process from both sides, having been granted five patents himself – four in the United States and one in Europe – for compositions and methods useful in the treatment of diabetes and other immune-mediated diseases.

“Even joining an established intellectual property practice rich in attorneys with scientific and academic backgrounds, Alan Steele will still be a real standout,” said Dana Gordon, deputy chair of Foley Hoag’s IP group, himself a former academic with a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. 

“Alan brings an exceptionally accomplished background to the life sciences group, having practiced and taught medicine at the highest levels and received a number of important patents for new medical therapies in diabetes and other diseases,” Dr. Gordon said.  “Alan’s foreign patent experience is also a huge plus, since IP issues are increasingly contested internationally.  We are very fortunate to have him join our group.  His ability to understand the needs of biotech and pharma clients – research and academic institutions as well as companies producing new drugs and medical devices – will be invaluable.”

Prior to obtaining his law degree in 2002, Dr. Steele earned both a doctorate in chemistry and a medical degree, embarking on a career as both an attending physician and a researcher with a focus on renal medicine and transplantation.  He was board-certified in both internal medicine and nephrology, the care and treatment of patients suffering kidney failure.  While tending to inpatients, including kidney and pancreas transplant recipients, at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital, Dr. Steele conducted his own research at Harvard Medical School into immune responses, particularly T-cell and transplantation biology.  Dr. Steele was also the recipient of an American Heart Association Clinician Scientist Award while he was a young faculty member at Harvard Medical School.

Later he operated his own laboratory while an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  At UMass, Dr. Steele also oversaw training of post-doctoral and nephrology fellows and consulted on kidney, pancreas, and liver transplant recipients.

“I have long been aware of Foley Hoag’s reputation as a leading IP and life sciences firm, representing major players in the biotech and pharmaceutical arena,” Dr. Steele said.  “The firm’s success in these areas dovetails perfectly with my practice in patent prosecution and portfolio management, and I can’t think of a firm with a better combination of top-flight intellectual property law and cutting-edge life sciences work than Foley Hoag.  I’m delighted to be here.”

Dr. Steele has published a number of research articles in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals.  He earned his J.D., cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School in Boston in 2002.  He received his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine in 1985, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.  He graduated with a B.A. in chemistry in 1977 from Wesleyan University.

About Foley Hoag LLP

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