Client Case Study: Genocea

Outside GC and Genocea: Providing industry-experienced attorneys to support a fast-growing biopharmaceutical company


Outside GC helps Genocea Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GNCA) manage its day-to-day legal affairs by providing part-time general counsel services through its team of seasoned life sciences attorneys.


Genocea Biosciences, Inc. is a growth-stage therapeutic discovery and development company working to develop life-changing vaccines and immunotherapies by harnessing the power of T cell immunity. Using ATLAS, its proprietary technology platform, Genocea identifies targets of T cells’ protective immune responses in order to develop life-changing medicines for infectious diseases and cancers.

Genocea’s pipeline includes GEN-003, a novel T cell-enabled immunotherapy for genital herpes currently in Phase 2 clinical development, and earlier-stage investments in immuno-oncology.


Genocea’s steady growth within the rapidly advancing field of immunotherapy has resulted in a robust pipeline of day-to-day contracts, along with increasing amounts of business development, clinical, compliance and regulatory work. In the absence of an in-house attorney, Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Poole managed the company’s day-to-day legal affairs through a number of service providers, including an ongoing relationship with a large law firm for corporate matters. Jonathan wanted to consolidate the provision of its day-to-day legal needs, including commercial contracts and compliance work due to quality, cost and efficiency concerns.

He was immediately impressed by Outside GC’s depth of industry experience. “Outside GC has a number of attorneys with the specific in-house biopharma experience we were looking for,” noted Jonathan. “Beyond this critical fit, the opportunity to work with a single, experienced attorney with a deep understanding of Genocea’s business was a huge selling point for us.” Jonathan was introduced to Kim Cornwell, a member of Outside GC’s Boston-area team with significant biotech, pharma and vaccine company experience, and has since relied upon Kim to serve as de-facto general counsel for Genocea.


Genocea chose Outside GC to handle its day-to-day legal work because of the firm’s substantial biopharma industry experience and its affordable, flexible approach, enabling CFO Jonathan Poole to provide the company with a level of legal support and service appropriate for its growth stage and increasing complexity. Specifically, Genocea engaged Kim Cornwell to oversee the company’s legal affairs. In this role, Kim manages a high volume of work, including confidential disclosure agreements, service contracts, research collaboration agreements, clinical trial agreements and licensing agreements. Kim also assists with the company’s compliance function and has worked with the in-house team to implement critical policies relating to document retention and contract procurement.

Kim also serves as the company’s main point of contact for day-to-day legal support. Centralizing the legal function in a de-facto general counsel is notably enhanced by Outside GC’s flexible work arrangements, including the on-site availability of its attorneys as needed, such as during on-site due diligence projects or internal meetings with the business team. Genocea receives this legal support at rates that are substantially less than what traditional law firms charge for partner-level attorneys with comparable experience.


Genocea’s CFO, Jonathan Poole, needed outside legal counsel to manage the company’s increasing volume of industry specific commercial agreements and compliance issues which had previously been supported through a number of different legal vendors. By engaging Outside GC, the company gained access to a team of highly skilled life sciences attorneys, available at rates substantially less than those charged by traditional law firms. Jonathan selected Outside GC attorney Kim Cornwell to spearhead Genocea’s legal function because of her extensive background in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Kim now plays a vital role in keeping Genocea on track to meet the demands of the fast-moving biopharmaceutical industry, effectively serving as the company’s de-facto general counsel.

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