Jim Ford


Jim is Global Co-Head of IP, Tech Transactions, Licensing & Data Privacy and Life Sciences Sector Lead.

Jim focuses on IP-rich sectors including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, IT, sports and consumer & retail. Jim specialises in non-contentious intellectual property and information technology law. For more than 25 years, he has brought strategic and commercial IP and IT advice to a wide range of major international clients on M&A, corporate and finance transactions, including advising on joint ventures and long-term collaborations.

Jim has extensive experience advising on all types of arrangements for the exploitation of IP, including licensing, sponsorship and taking security over IP and is widely recognised as one of Europe's leading transactional IP lawyers.
Jim is Co-head of our global Life Sciences industry group and is global co-chair of LGBTQ+ Network.



Representative matters

Exscientia on a series of collaborations with pharmaceutical partners for the deployment of Exscientia's AI drug discovery technology in relation to various drug discovery targets, including its USD674m collaboration with Merck KGaA.
Grünenthal on its agreement with NovaQuest to advance its resiniferatoxin global Phase III Program in osteoarthritis for the US, EU and Japan.
Marks and Spencer on its 50/50 joint venture with Ocado Group. Under the terms of the transaction, M&S will acquire a 50% stake in an existing Ocado entity and, from completion, operate Ocado's UK retail business.
Shionogi on its strategic collaboration with F2G Ltd to develop and commercialize a new antifungal agent, 'Olorofim' for invasive fungal infections in Europe and Asia.
Grünenthal on its agreement with AstraZeneca to acquire the global rights to migraine medication Zomig®. Grünenthal will pay AstraZeneca USD200m for the global rights (excluding Japan) to Zomig® upon completion, with up to USD102m to be paid in future milestone payments. 
An English Premier League football club on its market-leading kit sponsorship and supply arrangements, on its front-of-shirt sponsorship agreement and on the development of its standard form agreement.
Virgin Active on its collaboration agreement with Discovery Vitality pursuant to which Vitality customers receive membership of Virgin Active's South African fitness centres and receive pricing incentives on their healthcare insurance based on attendance at the fitness centres.
Asahi Group on IP, transitional services and commercial contracts aspects of its EUR7.30bn acquisition of the Central & Eastern European business of SABMiller by way of auction.

A global healthcare company on its licence and manufacturing agreement with MolMed for viral vectors and gene therapy products.
WPP on transitional service arrangements in connection with the USD3.1bn sale of a 60% stake in Kantar to Bain Capital, including a pre-sale carve-out reorganisation involving 90 countries. 
A global retail company on transitional services, technology separation, branding and product supply aspects of its £181m sale of its Polish supermarkets business to Salling Group.
A global retail investment bank on the strategic ring-fencing and restructuring of its global intellectual property portfolio, including legal, regulatory and tax advice on the ownership and licensing of the group's intellectual property.  
CLS on its customer agreements relating to it's "CLSNet" trade matching and netting product.

Pro bono

Advising Stonewall on Turing's Law which pardoned gay men for historic outlawed homosexual acts
Advising Queer Britain (the UK's first LGBT+ museum) on sponsorship arrangements
Leading on pro bono term on REDRESS's report on the torture of LGBTQ+ persons across Africa
Advising Stem4 (a charity supporting positive mental health in teenagers) on subscription agreements, privacy polices and product terms and conditions
Jim Ford is experienced, cool and calm. He gives robust and pragmatic advice. He is someone you want on your side of the table during negotiations.
Chambers UK, Intellectual Property 2024
He is absolutely terrific. The good thing about working with him is that he sees the big picture. He is a joy to work with.
Chambers UK, Life Sciences: Transactional 2024


  • Jim has been ranked in the  annual OUTstanding top 100 LGBT Executives List on six occasions
  • LMG European Life Sciences Awards Licensing and Collaboration firm of the Year (2022)
  • Nominated for Licensing and Collaboration Lawyer of the Year (2023)



Admitted as solicitor, England and Wales, 1998


BA (Hons), Jurisprudence, Hertford College, Oxford University, 1995

LPC (Distinction), Oxford Institution of Legal Practice, 1996

A&O Shearman was formed on May 1, 2024 by the combination of Shearman & Sterling LLP and Allen & Overy LLP and their respective affiliates (the legacy firms). Any matters referred to above may include matters undertaken by one or more of the legacy firms rather than A&O Shearman.