Case Study

NovaQuest Finds Time Savings and Peace of Mind With Customized Contract Storage and Management

September 11, 2023
NovaQuest Finds Time Savings and Peace of Mind With Customized Contract Storage and Management

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.”

With Contract Solutions in particular, I can say whatever your problem happens to be with contracts, this tool is probably going to help you.
Jacob Comer

Among the other features in Contract Solutions that Comer found most appealing is the seamless integration with Microsoft Word.

“I think it’s incredibly important that the tools are available not just in a web setting or at a database setting, but also in the programs that you use on a day-to-day basis, like Word,” he said. “The ability to get at everything that I need right there in Word while I’m working on it – I can’t possibly overstate the value of that to me.”

Additionally, Comer was pleased by the ease of extracting and organizing his company’s preferred clauses within Contract Solutions.

“I like being able to look across your body of contract work over several years and see a number of different iterations of how you’ve solved the same problem, and find the one that’s best for the situation that you’re dealing with right now. That is a real value-add and not something that we’re able to get in any other solution that we’re familiar with,” Comer said.

This also extends to the full EDGAR database of filings from which Contract Solutions can source examples of relevant clauses.

“No one wants to reinvent the wheel when they don’t have to,” Comer said. “Even if you’re not in love with the way that they dealt with it, starting with that is always better than starting from scratch.”

[Request a demo to see how Contract Solutions can simplify and streamline your contract workflows with AI-powered tools built into Microsoft Word.]

Results: Saving time and ensuring consistency across teams

Because Contract Solutions is built specifically for attorneys and not as an enterprise platform, it’s able to provide value to the legal team on day one.

“The most unique thing about Contract Solutions – and certainly the most valuable thing about Contract Solutions – is it provides a number of tools that I can mix and match and utilize and customize in ways that make it tremendously more likely that the products are going to be useful to my business than would be the case with almost any other product that we’ve looked at,” Comer said.

In particular, Comer highlighted Bloomberg Law’s thoughtful use of artificial intelligence. At a time when legal professionals are experimenting with AI to varying degrees of success, Bloomberg Law Contract Solutions employs machine learning in ways that speed up routine legal tasks.

“One of the things that I like about Contract Solutions is that it seems to have struck that right balance of making my job easier without trying to do my job for me,” Comer said.

Watch: Jacob Comer, partner at NovaQuest, describes how using Contract Solutions to logically organize contracts has allowed for greater consistency and efficiency. [0:43]

One example Comer shared is the time savings associated with the automated clause library and analysis functionality, which he estimates saves at least an hour or two in the drafting process.

“As you scale that out over all of the time that we spend contracting, that’s a lot of hours saved that I can do any number of other things,” Comer said.

When it comes to the organization system, Comer immediately saw the benefits could expand beyond the legal department, as well.

“It’s not just saving me time and headache, it’s saving lots of people on the investment team time and headache,” Comer said. “It’s also dramatically reducing the risk of mistakes, missing a new contract and missing a superseded agreement.”

Bloomberg Law continues to expand the features and functionality of Contract Solutions based on the valuable feedback from innovation partners like Comer. Because of this, he has no doubt that Contract Solutions can solve the most significant contract workflow challenges facing in-house legal teams.

“With Contract Solutions in particular, I can say whatever your problem happens to be with contracts, this tool is probably going to help you,” Comer said.

[Request a demo to see how Contract Solutions can simplify and streamline your contract workflows with AI-powered tools built into Microsoft Word.]