Susan Abelleira and Alexander Akhiezer Join Foley Hoag as Partners in Intellectual Property Department

New lawyers bring deep scientific backgrounds in addition to broad patent experience

June 29, 2015

Two new partners have joined Foley Hoag LLP’s Intellectual Property Department, bringing to the firm extensive scientific backgrounds, patent law expertise in areas ranging from chemistry, to biotechnology, to pharmaceuticals and over 30 years of combined patent law experience.

Susan Abelleira and Alexander Akhiezer come to Foley Hoag from intellectual property law firm Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds, where both were principals. They will be based in Foley Hoag’s Boston office.

Abelleira’s practice focuses on chemical and pharmaceutical industry patent prosecution and patent portfolio development and management. She also assists clients with non-infringement, invalidity and freedom-to-operate opinions, due diligence for investment and acquisition and agreements that involve intellectual property rights. Prior to her legal career, Abelleira was a research scientist for six years at Alkermes, Inc., in Waltham, Mass., specializing in synthetic medicinal chemistry. She was also responsible for directing the research activities of the biochemical pharmacology department and co-authored numerous research publications resulting from her work. Before Alkermes, she worked for the International Fortune 100 company W.R. Grace & Co., as a chemist in new product development.

Abelleira holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Regis College and a master’s degree, with distinction, in synthetic organic chemistry from Boston College. She earned her law degree at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, cum laude, and is a member of the Boston Patent Law Association and the American Chemical Society.

Akhiezer’s practice focuses on emerging technologies at the intersection of chemistry, biology, and physics. He advises clients on patent life cycle management as well as investment due diligence around a wide range of products, including pharmaceuticals, composite materials, medical devices, and optical systems such as tomographic devices. Akhiezer has participated in corporate acquisitions, drafted and negotiated portfolio license agreements, and prepared opinions of counsel on matters of infringement, validity and freedom-to-operate.

Akhiezer holds a diploma in theoretical physics with distinction from Kharkov University, Ukraine, and a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in biochemistry from New York University. His graduate education includes a Ph.D. degree in biological and computational chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a law degree from Suffolk University School of Law, cum laude.

“Susan’s and Alex’s impressive scientific backgrounds and intellectual property law experience will add important value to our Intellectual Property Department,” said Co-Managing Partner Adam Kahn. “IP has traditionally been one of our strongest practice areas, and as the scope of IP law expands Foley Hoag is committed to adding new expertise and perspectives to provide our clients with knowledgeable, effective counsel.”

The arrival of Abelleira and Akhiezer is the latest expansion of Foley Hoag’s Intellectual Property practice across all of its offices. Former Administrative Patent Judge of the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Scott Kamholz rejoined the firm’s Washington, D.C. office in May as a partner in the Intellectual Property Department and co-chair of the Post-Grant Review practice. That same month, Foley Hoag opened its New York office with the hiring of intellectual property lawyers Peter Sullivan and Walter Egbert.

Earlier in June, Foley Hoag recruited partner Catherine Muyl to establish an intellectual property and information technologies practice in its Paris office. She brings more than 20 years of intellectual property experience to the firm. Muyl was joined in Paris by associate Alice Berendes, whose practice also focuses on IP/IT matters.

About Foley Hoag LLP

Foley Hoag provides innovative, strategic legal services to public, private and government clients across the globe. We have premier capabilities in the life sciences, healthcare, technology, energy, professional services and investment management fields, and in cross-border disputes. Our professionals  possess the skills  and experience to provide exceptional senior level service to clients ranging from startups to multinational companies to sovereign states. For more information, visit or follow @FoleyHoag on Twitter.