Oona M. Johnstone

Oona M. Johnstone, PhD

Shareholder, Executive Committee Member | Biotechnology
617.646.8325 Oona.Johnstone@WolfGreenfield.com LinkedIn Profile


  • BS, Biology, McGill University, with distinction
  • PhD, Biology, McGill University, Dean's Honor List
  • JD, Suffolk University Law School, magna cum laude

Key Technologies

  • Synthetic Biology
  • Metabolic Engineering
  • Gene Editing
  • Nucleic Acid-Based Therapeutics
  • Food Sciences
  • Transgenics
  • Antibodies 
  • Engineered Recombinant Proteins
  • Vaccines
  • Immune-Modulating Agents

Practice Groups

Admitted to Practice

  • Massachusetts
  • US Patent and Trademark Office


  • Boston


Oona Johnstone works closely with life science clients, taking a creative approach to helping them develop IP strategy that is catered to their specific business needs. Oona’s practice includes US and foreign patent prosecution, IP due diligence, FTO and patent landscape analysis, IP transactions, and client counseling related to post-grant proceedings, including inter partes review (IPR), in the areas of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and cleantech. Her technical experience spans a wide range of technologies including systems and synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, nucleic acid-based therapeutics, transgenics, biologics such as antibodies and engineered recombinant proteins, vaccines, and immune-modulating agents.

Oona regularly counsels corporate clients ranging from start-ups to large multinational companies, financial institutions such as private equity and venture capital firms, non-profit organizations, and universities. 

Oona has experience advising clients on maximizing patent term through patent term adjustment (PTA), patent term extension (PTE), and Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs).

Oona additionally has experience advising clients on biosimilar/biobetter issues.

Prior to joining Wolf Greenfield, Oona was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. Her research, focusing on posttranscriptional gene regulation, was part of a large-scale initiative to use genome-wide technologies to characterize networks of RNA-protein interactions in the developing mammalian brain.

Oona’s doctoral research on RNA helicases helped to elucidate cell biological questions related to RNA localization and translational regulation, while placing these mechanistic insights within the context of the developing embryo.

Oona has authored and co-authored publications in scientific journals including Molecular Cell, Development, Developmental Biology, International Review of Cytology and Annual Review of Genetics.

Client Testimonials

Oona Johnstone is building a large patent portfolio for us and is providing excellent service and high-quality work, with attention to detail and high technical standards.

Oona Johnstone is highly organized, a good strategic thinker, [and] has helped us to develop a very tailored patent strategy.

She can present complex information in an easy way. She has done a lot of things that enabled me to do my job more efficiently.

She's done a great job. She comes up with a distinctive strategy. She does it creatively and assembled a good team.


  • Developed world-wide patent strategy for early-stage biotech company in the area of nucleic acid-based therapeutics. 
  • Advised synthetic biology company on developing patent strategy for engineered enzymes.
  • Prosecuted patent families related to antibodies produced in transgenic animals.
  • Developed world-wide patent portfolio related to mRNA vaccine and counseled client on patent term extension (PTE) for mRNA vaccines.
  • Counseled biotech/pharma companies on strategy for biosimilar product development.
  • Provided IP due diligence and regulatory analysis for multiple biotech/pharma transactions.
  • Advised clients on inter partes review (IPR) strategy, including representing Patent Owner BTG International Inc. in an IPR proceeding. Obtained denial of institution.
  • Successfully represented Patent Owner in achieving denial of institution of four IPR proceedings in RNA interference technology.
  • Conducted pre-suit investigation involving analysis of competitor’s biologic to demonstrate infringement of client’s claims.
  • Successfully appealed written description rejection of antibody claims to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the US Patent and Trademark Office.


  • Boston Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (2020)
  • Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology
  • Women in Bio


Oona was recognized as a “Next Generation Partner” in the category of “Patents: prosecution (including reexamination and post-grant proceedings)” by The Legal 500 in 2021-2023. Oona was also a finalist in the “US Rising Star - Intellectual Property” category for the LMG Life Sciences Awards in 2020, one of only five attorneys recognized in this category. Oona has been repeatedly named one of Massachusetts Super Lawyers' “Rising Stars” in the field of intellectual property law. In addition, she has been repeatedly named to The Best Lawyers in America®

Oona was awarded a Doctoral Studentship and a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. In law school, she received Best Oral Advocate and Distinguished Legal Brief awards in her Legal Practice Skills class. She also participated in the Walter H. McLaughlin Appellate Advocacy Competition.


Scientific Publications

  • Gamberi C, Johnstone O, Lasko P. (2006) Drosophila RNA binding proteins. Int Rev Cytol. 248:43-139.
  • Johnstone O, Deuring R, Bock R, Linder P, Fuller MT, Lasko P. (2005) Belle is a Drosophila DEAD-box protein required for viability and in the germ line. Dev Biol. 1;277(1):92-101.
  • Johnstone O, Lasko P. (2004) Interaction with eIF5B is essential for Vasa function during development. Development. 131(17):4167-78.
  • Johnstone O, Lasko P. (2001) Translational regulation and RNA localization in Drosophila oocytes and embryos. Annu Rev Genet. 35:365-406.
  • Carrera P, Johnstone O, Nakamura A, Casanova J, Jäckle H, Lasko P. (2000) Mol Cell. 5(1):181-7.

Recent News

See All News



Oona is committed to environmental sustainability. She is a Partner in Conservation with the World Wildlife Fund. 

In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, ice-skating, cross-country skiing, paddle boarding, and wildlife photography.