Hello everyone, It is the start of a new month and we have some new commercial stories to share with you. We really hope you enjoy these and that you find them useful. Your feedback is always welcome and very much valued, so please do let us know your thoughts We have a growing presence on social media with a new instagram account so remember to head over there for more updates from the team too! Hope you are all having a great start to October, all the very best with your applications, and happy reading!! Topics Covered: 1. Novartis Pairs Up with Microsoft for AI Drug Development @Alice G 2. Back to Basics: Cybersecurity for Law Firms @Jaysen 3. India’s Corporate Tax Cut @Sara Moon ************************************************************************************************************************* Novartis Pairs Up with Microsoft for AI Drug Development @Alice G The Story: Novartis and Microsoft have announced that they have joined forces under a five-year agreement with the hope of using artificial intelligence to alleviate some of the greatest problems in the pharmaceutical industry. Novartis hopes to have AI systems enhancing all aspects of its business from financing to development and from manufacturing to sales. On average, it takes around 14 years from the discovery and development of a new drug to its commercialisation and the cost is in the region of $2.5bn; it is hoped that these stats can be reduced with AI systems in place. Novartis anticipates that by using deep learning technology (machine-learning which can process unstructured data while using artificial neural networks) it will be able to develop drugs more quickly and more precisely, and also deepen its capabilities in personalised medicine. Impact on Businesses and Law Firms: The healthcare industry has been rather on the backfoot in terms of technological development, but this news demonstrates that Big Pharma is coming to realise that technology is probably the best way to reduce the arduous research and development process. The quicker development of drugs would be of huge benefit to us all and we might see breakthroughs in treatments for illnesses and diseases we do not currently have cures for. This alliance might signify the development of a new trend since other pharma companies might be more incentivised to harness technology and follow the example set by such a renowned business like Novartis. Lawyers would have been involved in the negotiations and the agreement of terms for this alliance. With the view to developing personalised medicine there is also a reasonable concern for the personal data of those patients involved. Lawyers would also be relied on to advise the companies about cybersecurity and data compliance laws in the jurisdictions concerned. Back to Basics: Cybersecurity for Law Firms @Jaysen The Story: Law firms are attractive targets for hackers. They may have access to a company’s most valuable information, such as trade secrets, intellectual property and sensitive client information. They also serve as an intermediary when large sums of money are being transferred between parties. Growing use of technology means the consequences of cyber attacks become more damaging. Information can be accessed from anywhere in the world and hackers are harder to track. The importance of adequate cyber security measures is only going to increase. Impact on Businesses and Law Firms: Law firms can try to put systems in place to minimise the risk of a cyber attack, however, sometimes education is the best preventative measure. For example, phishing attacks, which are the most common cyber attack facing the legal profession, involve hackers impersonating people, such as lawyers or clients, in order to access money or sensitive information. However, no matter what law firms do, they can’t completely escape the risk of a cyber attack. That’s why what matters is how law firms respond if a breach does happen. That means putting processes in place so they can respond to a breach quickly, for example, hiring forensic investigators, informing affected clients, checking insurance coverage, drafting regulatory notifications and identifying legal obligations. The GDPR, for example, means law firms now have to report a breach within 72 hours or they could face serious fines. Not all law firms will face a breach, but if they do, it could be one of the greatest threats a law firm can face. The integrity of their service rests on their ability to handle sensitive disputes and confidential deals. Lose that, and the reputational costs could be significant. India’s Corporate Tax Cut @Sara Moon The Story: On 20th September, India made a historic reform to its economy by cutting its corporate tax rate from 30% to 22%. For some of the new manufacturing firms, the rate will be lowered from 25% to 15%. This is in response to the economic slowdown the country is currently facing. In the first quarter of this year, India’s GDP growth fell to 5.8%, which was a five-year low, and in the second quarter, it fell to 5%, which was a six-year low. Impact on Businesses and Law Firms: Corporate tax cuts come with several positive implications. Domestically, they allow existing companies to gain more profit, which can be used to reinvest and expand the business. This may also boost employment, which can then increase domestic consumption and further benefit businesses. More importantly, from a more international perspective, India’s corporate tax cut is likely to attract foreign manufacturers who are currently based in China but are seeking alternative locations that can help them avoid high tariffs caused by the ongoing US-China trade war. With Google already having shifted its Pixel smartphone production to Vietnam from China and with many other companies planning to follow the trend, India can take huge advantage of this with its lower corporate tax. It is estimated that the Indian economy could benefit by $11 billion from these relocations caused by the trade war. Relocation projects by companies will require advice from law firms on Indian law. Advice will be especially needed with regards to land law and employment law, which are notorious for their complexities. This is because the land ownership is fragmented across several states and companies have to strictly comply with all of the 40 Acts of Labor laws. India prohibits foreign law firms from practicing domestic law so law firms like Allen & Overy which have close connections with Indian law firms will gain a good source of revenue from this proposed relocation trend.