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Partner - J. Dormer  Stephen

J. Dormer Stephen


New Haven: (203) 836-2803
Hartford: (860) 251-5938
New Haven Office, Hartford Office
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Dormer Stephen is co-chair of the firm's Business and Finance Practice Group. He focuses his practice on advising emerging growth companies and investors in the life sciences, technology, financial services and manufacturing industries. Working closely with founders, CEOs, boards of directors and investors, Dormer counsels clients in a broad range of matters, from formation and spinoff transactions, to financings, governance, mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, strategic collaborations, and technology acquisition and licensing matters.

In the life sciences sector alone, Dormer has worked with hundreds of biotechnology companies whose research activities, products and services include biopharmaceuticals, diagnostics, drug delivery, genomics, healthcare informatics, medical devices, nanotechnology, pharmaceuticals, therapeutics and vaccines. A number of these businesses are spinoffs from research initiatives at Yale University, where he has also served for several years as a panel moderator at the annual Yale Innovation Summit.

Dormer provides sophisticated advice, delivered in a practical, business-oriented manner at every step in the corporate lifecycle. On behalf of Fortune 500 companies, private equity funds, emerging companies and investment banks, he regularly handles venture capital, private equity and debt transactions, including structuring, negotiating and documenting seed through later-stage investments, mezzanine financings and syndicated credit facilities. Dormer understands the value of collaboration in the life sciences, biotechnology and other information-intensive sectors and helps companies negotiate joint ventures, partnerships and major corporate matters such as buyouts, rollups, and intellectual property and licensing transactions. He also advises on workouts, financial restructurings and business-succession planning.

Dormer’s focus on high-quality, efficient service has fostered the development of long-term relationships with the companies he represents. He serves as formal and informal outside general counsel for many of his public and private clients, helping them identify resources and develop legal strategies on a range of business and legal issues long after a specific deal or transaction has closed. In this capacity, he has advised on strategic initiatives (such as joint development projects), commercial contracts (such as distribution, supply and employment agreements) and other general corporate matters (such as equity incentive plans, corporate governance, and employment, severance, real estate and insurance matters).

Dormer is actively involved in the Connecticut biotechnology community and serves as a member of the board of directors of BioCT, an organization dedicated to growing a vibrant bioscience ecosystem in the state. He is a venture advisor for ABCT, the Accelerator for Biosciences in CT, a program that helps research students, faculty, MBAs and MDs form new ventures in biosciences. Drawing on his work in the fintech and other sectors, he also advises insurance, media, software and telecommunications companies.

Prior to joining Shipman & Goodwin, Dormer was a partner in the Corporate Department of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP.


Professional Affiliations

  • BioCT: Member, Board of Directors
  • ABCT (Accelerator for Biosciences in CT): Venture Advisor

$41.6M Series B Financing for Arvinas

Shipman & Goodwin represented Arvinas, a private biotechnology company creating a new class of drugs based on targeted protein degradation, in connection with its Series B financing round of $41.6 million. All of the initial Series A investors, including the two lead Series A investors, Canaan Partners and 5AM Ventures, participated in this new round. Three additional leading venture firms joined the round: RA Capital Management, OrbiMed, and New Leaf Venture Partners. Over the past month, Arvinas has been recognized as a Fierce 15 company, signed up Genentech as its second marquee collaborator and now has garnered this $41.6 million Series B round to continue its pipeline development work.

Arvinas is harnessing the body’s own natural degradation and removal system to target and degrade pathogenic proteins by using bifunctional small molecules, Proteolysis-Targeting Chimeras (PROTACs). See more at:

Acquisition and Financing of Musculoskeletal Tissue Business

Represented HighCape Partners in connection with the formation and financing of Aziyo Biologics, Inc., a regenerative medicine company, and the acquisition of Tissue Banks International’s musculoskeletal tissue division. Aziyo develops and delivers customized tissue products for use in orthopedic, spinal, sports medicine and dermal applications. 


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