China 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.


Asia 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.

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.

Consistently ranked in Band 1 by Chambers Asia-Pacific Life Sciences and Chambers Greater China Region Life Sciences, our 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 Asia’s life sciences industry.

Our full service offering covers all practice areas of relevance to the region’s 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 Asia-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 Asia 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 Asia’s regulatory agencies.
  • 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 Asia-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.

Experience & Awards

Our attorneys have advised on a number of defining matters in Asia's 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.

Ropes & Gray’s China life sciences practice has garnered recognition by clients and independent reviewers, including:

  • Chambers Asia-Pacific, Chambers Greater China, Chambers Global, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, IFLR 1000: our China life sciences practice is ranked year after year as leaders within Greater China and other Asia Pacific markets for comprehensive counsel in Healthcare and Life Sciences, Intellectual Property, and Regulatory/ Compliance.
  • China Law & Practice 2022 AwardsEquity Securities Deal of the Year” for LianBio IPO.
  • China Business Law Journal’s 2022 China Business Law Awards: recognized for IP (Patents) and Healthcare, pharma & life sciences.
  • Asian Legal Business’ 2022 Asia IP Rankings: Patents, Tier 1 among international firms in China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea; Trademarks and Copyright, Tier 1 among international firms in China; Trademarks and Copyright, Tier 2 among international firms in Hong Kong and South Korea. 
  • Asian Legal Business’ 2021 IP Rankings: Patents, Tier 1 among international firms in China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea; Trademark and Copyright, Tier 1 in China; Trademark and Copyright, Tier 2 in Hong Kong and South Korea.
  • Asian Legal Business’ 2020 IP Rankings – Patents, Tier 1 among international firms in China, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.
  • China Business Law Journals2020 China Business Law Awards: recognized for health care, pharmaceuticals & life sciences intellectual property matters, including patents.
  • China Law & Practice 2019 Awards – “Outbound Deal of the Year” for advising Harbin Pharmaceutical’s US$300 million investment in GNC Holdings.
  • China Business Law Journal’s 2019 China Business Law Awards – recognized for intellectual property, including patents.
  • Asian Legal Business’ 2019 IP Rankings – Patents, Tier 1 among international firms in China, Japan and South Korea. 
  • In-House Community 2019 – “Firm of the Year – China” for Life Sciences.
  • China Law & Practice 2017 Awards – “Healthcare & Life Sciences International Firm of the Year.”
  • Financial Times Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyers 2014 – recognized for counseling AstraZeneca subsidiary MedImmune on its joint venture with WuXi AppTec, China’s largest clinical research organization, which created the first novel biologics joint venture in China.
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