China Life Sciences

life sciences

Ropes & Gray’s internationally recognized China life sciences practice offers integrated and comprehensive counsel to leading investment funds and global pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology companies on doing business in one of the world’s fastest growing and most challenging markets.


“Highly reputed practice offering expertise on both regulatory and transactional life science matters, as well as related IP and FCPA issues. Advises US and European companies on their Chinese operations. Acts for a strong roster of pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies.” Chambers China Life Sciences
“The firm's cross-border synergy and industry knowledge are core strengths. It was very helpful to have them all under one umbrella, the team worked very seamlessly. The market has evolved significantly and they are able to provide color on what's happening across Asia and globally.” Chambers Asia-Pacific Life Sciences
“[Ropes & Gray] has significant presence across Asia-Pacific and the USA and is well known for transactional capabilities and cross-border investments. Adept to handle contentious matters, it often assists pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology companies. [They are] also knowledgeable in IP and regulatory matters” Chambers Global


China is a high strategic priority market for global life sciences investors and companies. To better serve our clients on their cutting-edge issues in this marketplace, Ropes & Gray has provided a unique resource – an exceptional and seamless cross-practice team with market-leading corporate/M&A, intellectual property, regulatory and compliance practitioners, all of whom are based on the ground in China.

Our local team includes thought leaders who are full-time life sciences attorneys, each having advised clients in the industry for the past decade. We are able to provide a deep level of understanding of the local industry practices and assist clients in navigating the complex landscape from all angles to a global standard.

Ranked in Band 1 by Chambers China Life Sciences 2020 and Chambers Asia-Pacific Life Sciences 2020, our China practice has assisted our clients in structuring, negotiating and consummating groundbreaking life sciences transactions, representing many leading pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and consumer product companies as well as investment banks, venture capital and private equity firms that invest in the China life sciences industry.

Our full service offering covers all practice areas of relevance to the China life sciences industry including:

  • Mergers and Acquisitions – We advise on all aspects of inbound and outbound cross-border acquisitions or control transactions.
  • Private Equity and Venture Capital Investments – We advise both sector-focused and multi-strategy investors in a wide range of offshore and onshore investment transactions involving Chinese life sciences companies.
  • Complex Licensing and Collaborations – We structure licensing and collaboration arrangements involving multinational pharmaceutical companies and China-based biotech and biopharmaceutical companies.
  • IP Counseling and Disputes – We provide IP (including patent) counseling and dispute resolution services tailored to the life sciences industry in mainland China and apply them to own transactional services.
  • Regulatory Matters – We routinely advise clients on regulatory matters that arise in connection with investment and M&A transactions, as well as joint venture, licensing and complex commercial arrangements.  We also provide regulatory counseling to some of the world’s largest life sciences companies on matters involving China’s regulatory agencies, including the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC). 
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) – We advise global pharmaceutical and medical device companies on anti-bribery and anticorruption matters in China, including handling special investigations and compliance trainings. 
  • Securities and Public Company Matters – We serve as U.S. securities counsel for many China-based life sciences companies and have advised these companies on a number of initial public offerings, follow-on offerings and other strategic transactions.
  • Fund Formation – We routinely review limited partnership agreements and serve as fund counsel to life sciences-focused investment funds.


Our attorneys have advised on a number of defining matters in the China life sciences industry, including representation of:

  • Eli Lilly in its digital healthcare collaboration with leading China internet company Tencent and online healthcare service provider DXY to develop and launch an integrated diabetes patient care platform in China.
  • JHL Biotech in a strategic alliance with Sanofi to develop and commercialize biological therapeutics in China and potentially internationally. Under the agreement, Sanofi will invest US$80 million in JHL and make an upfront payment of US$21 million to acquire rights to certain JHL biologics. In addition, JHL will be entitled to receive milestones of up to US$236 million and sales royalties. 
  • StemCells, Inc., a California based developer of stem cell based therapeutic technologies, in the sale of its proprietary human neural stem cell technology platform to BOCO Silicon Valley, an affiliate of Bright Oceans Corporation, a China-based conglomerate. 
  • Eli Lilly in its digital healthcare collaboration with leading China internet company Tencent and online healthcare professional community DXY to develop and launch an integrated diabetes patient care program in China.
  • A large Asia-based sovereign wealth fund in its $500 million equity joint venture with a leading hospital based in China and operated by a US based healthcare management company
  • Kleiner Perkins China in the $45 million preferred equity financing of JHL Biotech, a newly established biologics company based in Taiwan and China.
  • Two leading international private equity funds in a $100 million control investment in a China-based medical equipment manufacturer.
  • TPG in its participation in the ShangPharma going-private transaction, one of the largest private equity backed going-private transactions to be completed in the China life sciences industry.
  • MedImmune LLC, the biologics arm of leading U.K.-based global life sciences company AstraZeneca PLC, in the structuring and establishment of its equity joint venture with WuXi AppTec and the out-licensing of a biologic candidate to the joint venture for clinical development and commercialization in China.
  • Kleiner Perkins China in its Series C preferred equity investment in Kindstar GlobalGene, a leading lab research company based in China.
  • Hutchison MediPharma in the out-licensing of Volitinib (HMPL-504) to AstraZeneca for global co-development and commercialization in the field of cancer.
  • Ironwood Pharmaceuticals in the out-licensing of its linaclotide IBS candidate for development in China and other Asia markets by AstraZeneca.
  • Essex Woodlands in its senior secured convertible debt investment in VenturePharma, a China based pharmaceutical company.
  • Hutchison MediPharma in the first drug discovery collaboration between a major multinational pharmaceutical company (Eli Lilly & Company) and a China-based biotechnology company (Hutchison MediPharma).
  • HAO Capital in its pre-IPO investment in Buchang Pharmaceuticals, one of the largest privately owned pharmaceutical companies in China.
  • Cathay Industrial Biotech in one of the largest private equity financings of a China-based biotechnology company.
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