James Hutton

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Melbourne, Australia
    Local Time: Monday 08:58

Practice Expertise

  • Corporate
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Finance
  • Private equity

Areas of Practice

  • Corporate
  • Finance
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Private equity


I specialise in capital markets and M&A with industry specialisations including life sciences and the education sector.

I have over 25 years' experience in equity and hybrid capital raisings, venture capital investments and other corporate finance transactions, as well as private and public M&A deals. As a strategic adviser to public and private company boards, independent directors and government bodies, I take a commercial and practical approach to advising my clients in complex corporate matters. I draw heavily on a prior lengthy in-house secondment as general counsel of Minara Resources (formerly Anaconda Nickel).

I lead MinterEllison's national Life Sciences practice. I am one of the leading venture capital lawyers for life sciences in Australia, awarded Key Advisor to Brandon Capital, the winner of the 2022 Venture Capital Investment Deal of the Year Award from the Australian Investment Council. My expertise extends across the medical research and commercialisation, pharmaceuticals, biosciences, health and aged care industries. I am a strong supporter of innovation in the Australian and global life sciences industry, providing structuring, fundraising, governance and due diligence advice to a range of organisations including MedTech / healthtech start-ups.

I am also an advisory board member of Her Heart Limited, a not-for-profit organisation promoting awareness of heart disease in women. I also Chair our firm's Partnership Selection Committee and Co-Lead our firm's ECM practice. I am a ranked lawyer in Chambers & Partners for Life Sciences, and recognised in other leading independent legal directories including Best Lawyers and Life Sciences Expert Guide.


Career highlights

  • Brandon Capital Partners –lawyer to Australia's largest life sciences fund, Brandon BioCatalyst managed by Brandon Capital Partners, acted as the legal architect to the original Fund and on its ongoing investments, exits and commercialisation activities.
  • Ginkgo Bioworks - advised NYSE-listed Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA) in relation to its entry into a technical development agreement with ASX-listed Microba Life Sciences as well as its participation as a cornerstone investor in Microba Life Sciences' IPO.
  • IDP Education Ltd - $1.2 billion block trade selldown and $3 billion restructure of Education Australia Ltd's shareholding in IDP.
  • Mayne Pharma – $888 million underwritten placement and pro rata accelerated non-renounceable entitlement offer.
  • Webjet Limited – fully underwritten pro-rata accelerated non-renounceable entitlement offer.
  • Education Australia Limited – initial public offering and ASX listing of IDP Education Australia Limited.
  • Temasek Holdings and ABC World Series B investments in V2 Foods.
  • China Grand Pharma – placement and strategic collaboration with ASX-listed Telix Pharmaceuticals.
  • EBR Systems, Inc IPO and ASX listing – advised major shareholder.
  • Colonial Group Limited – issue of Colonial Group Subordinated Notes, which raised approximately $1 billion, and listing on the ASX.
  • AusNet Services – first ever ASX listed bond issue, successfully issuing €500m worth of bonds under its global US$5 billion Medium Term Notes (MTN) program.
  • Spinifex Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd and its major shareholder Brandon Capital – sale of Spinifex to Swiss-based pharmaceutical giant Novartis.
  • Village Roadshow Limited - spin-off listing of Austereo Group Limited - and subsequent takeover by Southern Cross Media.
  • Yancoal Australia – advised Gloucester Coal on its $8 billion merger with Yanzhou Coal Mining and its wholly owned subsidiary Yancoal Australia.
  • University of Melbourne – helped establishment of the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative, including advice on funding, appropriate governance structures and regulatory arrangements.


Areas of Practice

  • Corporate
  • Finance
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Private equity


  • MinterEllison advises Ginkgo Bioworks on partnership with Microba Life Sciences

    Ginkgo Bioworks' technical development agreement with Microba will help them undertake and deliver on a range of projects that aim to improve treatment for autoimmune diseases.

  • Catching PIPEs in the wave of COVID-19 capital raisings

    With dwindling cashflows, many ASX companies have started to raise capital to shore up their balance sheets. To assist those considering PIPE, here's our everything you need to know guide.

  • MinterEllison named Key Advisor to Venture Capital Investment Deal of the Year

    The Australian Investment Council (AIC) recognised MinterEllison partner and life sciences expert James Hutton as a Key Advisor to Australia's largest life sciences fund manager, Brandon Capital.

  • Australia's accelerating MedTech industry: meeting challenges for global success

    Head of Life Sciences, James Hutton hosted the AusMedtech plenary panel session: 'Australian Success Stories: Australian manufacturing and global expansion'. Here are the panel insights.

  • Directions in Capital Markets

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