In the world of capital investment, much of the success of a business comes down to the strength of its contracts. Missing a key detail in an agreement could, at best, send the legal team scrambling at the last minute. At worst, it could affect the entire outcome of the negotiations.
For NovaQuest Capital Management, a life science investment firm specializing in biopharmaceuticals, the legal department needs to have confidence that its contracts are drafted and organized for optimal success.
Challenge: Complex contracts with no single source of truth
Founded in 2010, and with more than $2.5 billion raised across multiple asset classes, North Carolina-based NovaQuest provides tailored capital solutions that fund innovation in biopharmaceutical development. This work keeps the legal team busy with complicated, tailored contract work that can make or break the business.
“In our business, we live and die by our contracts,” said Jacob Comer, partner and head of the legal team at NovaQuest. “A lot of the value I add is in risk management on the contracting side and ensuring consistency in our approach.”
Maintaining that consistency, both in contract drafting and storage, is where the legal team struggled, especially as different team members worked on deals.
“We spent a lot of time and effort here templatizing our approach to important contracts to ensure that we’re repeatable in what we do,” Comer said. “We were reliant mostly on network drives, and team members have different organizational ideas. They file contracts different ways under different names and different folder structures at different times.”
In Comer’s experience, having evaluated and tested numerous contract management software solutions, none of the available options addressed the needs of his department.
“All of them had two material limitations from my perspective. One, they were mostly geared toward people who need to churn out the same type of contract over and over again, and I don’t need to do that,” Comer said.
His team didn’t manage a large volume of formulaic contracts, but rather a few very complicated contracts that need to be customized for a particular transaction type.
Secondly, he found that the contract management solutions on the market took a cookie-cutter approach to storage.
“It’s nearly impossible to go in and modify that in a way that makes sense for your particular business, for your particular kind of contract needs, or just your personal proclivity for organizing your contracts,” Comer said. “I wanted the ability to store our contracts in a logical way that we can design.”
Solution: Optimized contract workflow and storage for the whole team
Comer became an innovation partner to help guide the development of Bloomberg Law Contract Solutions, and he immediately realized it offered the right mix of tools to make his team successful.
At the top of his list was an organization system that made sense for his business and the ability to customize how they organize, store, and search their agreements. With Contract Solutions, the entire team has access to the repository of contracts, which is organized in a logical way using parent-child structures that doesn’t differ depending on who the principal author of the contract was.
“That consistency is tremendously helpful,” Comer said. “Being able to go back and find specific solutions to specific contractual problems we’ve had in the past was tremendously appealing to us relative to competitor solutions that just don’t allow that flexibility.”