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John S. Russell

Of Counsel
Fax +1.919.516.2117

John Russell is a corporate partner in the Research Triangle Park office. He focuses his practice in the life sciences and technology areas, advising emerging and established drug development and discovery companies, universities and NGOs, software and data businesses, health information companies, agribusiness and biotechnology concerns, as well as financers working in these areas. Additionally, he has extensive experience in global data transfer and data use challenges facing information companies. He brings to this practice a broad background from his role as general counsel and chief administrative officer of Quintiles Transnational Corp., a leading global research company, where his duties also included being head of government relations, human resources and global integration. He also served as a Director of the North Carolina Railroad, a publicly traded short-line.

Mr. Russell provides advice to companies through the investment cycle, from emerging concerns to public enterprises. He has advised entrepreneurs, venture capital and private equity financers, public boards of directors, universities, non-profit organizations and government decision makers. Mr. Russell is experienced in advising global enterprises seeking to expand operations in Europe, South America and Asia, particularly in the drug development and technology fields. He has helped companies fashion agreements for strategic alliances in clinical trials and innovative financing techniques for drugs newly in the marketplace. He served as principal legal advisor on one of the largest going-private transactions in the life sciences space. On the government side, Mr. Russell has lobbied before the U.S. government and EU regulators on medical privacy and data issues. He has also helped secure funding for economic development projects in various U.S. states.

As a senior fellow of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, Mr. Russell advised the Department of Homeland Security and the Center for Disease Control on uses of health care data for public health monitoring and biosurveillance. He has also testified before a Congressional subcommittee on health care data use issues. He was a founding officer of the Washington, D.C.-based trade association ACRO – the Association of Clinical Research Organizations and is active in speaking and writing on related public policy topics.

Professional Background

Mr. Russell began his legal career in private practice in 1985 concentrating in corporate, securities and banking transactions. He represented venture capital financers, lenders and investment banks, as well as companies from the start-up stages to listing on exchanges. Over time he developed an emphasis in technology and drug development, and for 10 years served as general counsel and chief administrative officer to Quintiles Transnational Corp., the leading clinical trial company. In 2008, he served as a Visiting Scholar at the University of North Carolina concentrating his work in health care data issues.

Prior to his legal career, Mr. Russell served as an editor in a New York City publishing house. He is the author of the novel Favorite Sons, and has published reviews and articles on literary and public policy topics in various publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Southern Cultures, the St. Andrews Review, and the Raleigh News and Observer.


  • Tenth Anniversary Honoree for Distinguished Service, Opera Company of North Carolina, 200
  • Legal Elite, Business North Carolina Magazine, 2007
  • Sir Walter Raleigh Award, North Carolina Historical Society, Best Work of Fiction, for novel Favorite Sons, 1993

Professional/Civic Activities

  • National Association of College and University Attorneys (Member, 2011)
  • CED Biotech Conference (Chair, 2010)
  • North Carolina Opera (Chair, Board of Directors, 2001-2006; Member, 1997-present)
  • North Carolina Bioscience (Director, 2006-present)
  • UNC School of Public Health (Board of Advisors, 2004-2008)
  • Center for the Study of the American South, UNC-Chapel Hill (Chair, 2011; Board of Advisors, 2006-present)
  • University Center for Global Initiatives, UNC-Chapel Hill (Board of Directors, 2005-present)
  • Association of Clinical Research Organizations (Founding Secretary; Chair, Policy & Practices Committee, 2002)
  • Council for Entrepreneurial Development (Chairman, Venture Fair, 1993; Director 1994-1995)
  • North Carolina Railroad Company (Director of OTC-traded company, 1993-1999)
  • North Carolinians Against Gun Violence (Founding Secretary and Director, 1990)

Speaking Engagements

  • “Sharing Clinical Trial Data - A New Era in Life Sciences Has Begun” – K&L Gates Life Sciences Alert (co-author), March 2015
  • "Drug Development and University Research” – National Association of College and University Attorneys. Denver, CO, June 2014
  • “Partnering Abroad: Opportunities and Challenges for Universities” – National Association of College and University Attorneys. Chicago, IL, April 2011
  • “FDA: Impact on Life Sciences Companies” – Pittsburgh Technology Council. Pittsburgh, PA, February 2011
  • “New Directions in FDA Enforcement: Target on Pharma and Medical Devices” – K&L Gates Webinar, December 2010
  • “U.S. Regulatory Environment: Impact on European Drug Development” – address before Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Forum. Basel, Switzerland, May 2010
  • “Drug Development in China” – K&L Gates Webinar, March 2010
  • “The New Hitech Act and Data Privacy” – Blue Cross Blue Shield National Attorneys Conference. Seattle, Washington, 2009
  • "What We Already Know Can Save Us -- Uses of Healthcare Data for Public Health and Biosurveillance," University of Manchester Business School Lecture Series. London, England, June 2008
  • "The Institute and the Factory - Business Leadership in a Global South," Southern Cultures, 2007
  • "Economic Impact of Globalization," UNC-Chapel Hill Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, Challenging the Two Americas Conference, 2006
  • "Drug Pricing Strategies for the Emerging Chinese Healthcare System," UNC-Peking University Conference on Health, Beijing, China, 2006
  • "Change and More Change - Business Leadership in a Global South," Navigating the Transnational South Conference, Chapel Hill, N.C., 2005
  • "Human Resources Management in Life Sciences," Marcus Evans Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, 2003
  • "HIPAA Privacy Rule Standards for Deidentification of Protected Health Information," NCHICA Privacy and Connectivity Conference, Asheville, N.C., 2002
  • "Data Deidentification:  How Much is Enough?" America Healthcare Lawyers Association, Atlanta, Ga., 2002
  • "A National Early Warning System for Bioterrorism," U.S. Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Bioterrorism Panel, Washington, D.C., 2001
  • Counsel to University and NGO global clinical trial projects.
  • Acquisition of more than 50 life science companies worldwide.
  • Creation of industry-leading health care data company.
  • Counsel to privatization of $1.8 billion NASDAQ-listed company.
  • Counsel to public offering of $1.1 billion public debt issuance for leading life science company.
  • Counsel to $300 million securitization of pharmaceutical revenue streams and subsequent sale to hedge fund.
  • Counsel to ground breaking risk-share agreement between clinical trial provider and drug sponsor, cited for industry award for innovation. 
  • Acquisition of $600 million data services provider.
  • Counsel to formation of joint venture to create industry leading pharmaceutical data company.
  • Washington, D.C. representation to obtain data use and analysis provisions in HIPAA legislation.
  • U.S. state representation to obtain multi-million dollar incentives for life science projects in North Carolina and Georgia.