Healthcare and life sciences: foreign firms in China

Covington & Burling LLP

Covington & Burling LLP is singled out for its solid track record in representing leading global pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies on their China anti-corruption and investigative matters. Its recent instructions also includes transactions and IP matters.  Weishi Li, New York-based John Balzano (who has notable expertise in China-related regulatory and policy matters) and of counsel Daniel Levine regularly form a multijurisdictional team that advises on cross-border transactions. Demonstrating this, the team assisted 6 Dimensions Capital with its investments in the US, and advised a healthtech company on the regulatory aspects of its collaboration with a Chinese technology company for the marketing of the app developer's product in China. Eric Carlson is recommended for representing clients operating in Asia on a range of anti-corruption matters, including FCPA.

Practice head(s):

Weishi Li; Eric Carlson

Other key lawyers:

John Balzano

Key clients

6 Dimensions Capital




JW Therapeutics

Work highlights

  • Advised 6 Dimensions Capital on a series of US investment.
  • Advised Indivior on the $122.5m sale of its rights related to the Sai Bo Song tablet in China to Zhejiang Pukang Biotechnology.
  • Acted for BeiGene on regulatory ad policy issues in China.

Ropes & Gray LLP

Ropes & Gray LLP further strengthened its China transactional offering with the hire of Eric Wu who joined from Johnson & Johnson. Within the team, Katherine Wang is recognised as a leading regulatory practitioner; Arthur Mok and Wu focuses on transactional mandates; Geoffrey Lin specialises in IP matters as well as counsel David Chen who also advises on data privacy matters. Other notable names includes Hong Kong-based regulatory specialists David Zhang and Mimi Yang who also advise on FCPA matters. Recent caseload includes advising a life sciences company on its corporate restructuring for the purposes of facilitating an offshore cross-over equity financing and an offshore initial public offering; acting for a group of global funds on their investment in US- and China-based biotechnology companies; advising biopharmaceutical companies on the regulatory aspects of their cross-border licensing transactions; and handling an internal investigation into alleged trade secrets infringement and theft case.

Practice head(s):

Arthur Mok


The team has great understanding of the pharmaceutical industry‘.

The team communicates efficiently‘.

Key clients

CVie Therapeutics

Innovent Biologics

Zai Lab

Work highlights

  • Advised CVie Therapeutics on its reverse triangular merger with Windtree Pharmaceuticals.
  • Assisted Innovent Biologics with a collaboration  and licensing agreement for three clinical products discovered and developed by Incyte.
  • Advised Zai Lab in its exclusive regional license and collaboration agreement with Novocure.

Baker McKenzie FenXun

Baker McKenzie FenXun's mainland China team works closely with its Hong Kong-based teams, which includes a number of highly regarded practitioners with notable medical expertise, as well as non-lawyer medical experts covering molecular biology, biotechnology or pharmacology to nursing and bioethics. Leveraging its broad global presence, the team regularly assists on the China-aspect of global M&A transactions, and also advises on regulatory, white-collar crime, trade mark, data compliance and trade secret matters. Isabella Liu leads the practice from its Hong Kong office, which also includes Shanghai-based Clement Ngai who focuses on regulatory issues, technology transactions and IP litigation; Tracy Wut and Cherrie Shi who are recommended for big-ticket cross-border transactions; and Simon Hui who is the key name to note for regulatory and compliance matters.

Practice head(s):

Isabella Liu

Other key lawyers:

Clement Ngai; Tracey Wut; Simon Hui; Cherry Shi

Key clients


Life-Space Group


Work highlights

  • Advising an Australian probiotic market leader Life-Space Group on the A$690m sale to BY-Health Group.
  • Assisting GlaxoSmithKline with the proposed $12.7bn acquisition of global consumer healthcare business from Pfizer and proposed joint venture.
  • Representing a multinational medical and healthcare company on its enforcement against a PRC manufacturer for the infringement of diagnostic software.
  • Advising a US private equity company on regulatory issues following its recent acquisition of a medical care business in China.


CMS' impressive client list features a large number of multinational pharmaceutical and medical devices companies. It is particularly strong in representing clients in high profile IP matters, and is further strengthened by its technology and innovation centre, which provides scientific and technical assistance on patent analysis, freedom to operate, and validity searches.  Recent caseload also includes a broad range of commercial, tax, regulatory, competition and anti-corruption matters. The group is jointly led by IP specialist Nick Beckett who splits his time between Beijing and Hong Kong, and Nicolas Zhu who focuses on commercial transactions.

Practice head(s):

Nick Beckett; Nicolas Zhu

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Hogan Lovells International LLP advises leading biotech, pharmaceutical and medical devices companies on the full product life cycle, with notable strength in regulatory matters and sizable M&A transactions. Andrew McGinty splits his time between Shanghai and Hong Kong, and regularly assists clients with acquisition, joint venture, strategy alliance and new therapies and treatments development; Eugene Chen specialises in commercial bribery investigations and product liability cases involving clinical trials and serious adverse reactions; Jun Wei and Lu Zhou advise on transactions and regulatory matters respectively.

Practice head(s):

Jun Wei; Lu Zhou; Eugene Chen; Andrew McGinty

Key clients

Liaoning Chengda Biotechnology

Hua Yu Singapore Pte

Qingdao Haier Special Electric Appliance

Merck Sharpe & Dohme (Asia) Limited

Hisun Pharmaceuticals

Work highlights

  • Advising Merck Sharpe & Dohme (Asia) on a cross-border litigation relating to its trade mark and trade name rights.

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP's strength lies in its strong IP offering spanning prosecution, litigation and licensing; it also handles a steady stream of private equity transactions and venture capital financing mandates, representing Chinese clients in outbound investments as well as global companies in their China investments. Recent transactional highlights include advising Trusted Doctors on its merger with Tencent Doctorwork, and acting for Ally Bridge Group on its equity investment in Grail. It also represented Shanghai Henlius Biotech in a series of licensing, manufacturing and supply matters and advised Triastek on the patent portfolio strategy relating to the 3D drug printing. The team is led by Palo Alto-based Janet Xiao who specialises in global patent procurement, patent portfolio management, and strategic planning. Gordon Milner and Thomas Chou are names to note from its Hong Kong office; Shanghai-based Chuan Sun focuses on cross-border M&A and private equity investments.

Practice head(s):

Janet Xiao

Other key lawyers:

Gordon Milner; Thomas Chou; Chuan Sun


The team has a client-oriented approach‘.

Key clients

Xingren Doctor

Ally Bridge Group

C-Bridge Capital

Everest Medicines


Shanghai Henlius Biotech

Work highlights

  • Advising Everest Medicines II on its exclusive collaboration and licensing arrangement with Spero Therapeutics.
  • Acting for Trusted Doctors in its merger with Tencent Doctorwork.
  • Assisted Everest Medicines II Limited in its $114m exclusive collaboration, license and supply agreement with VenatoRx Pharmaceuticals, a world-leading biotech company in antibacterial and antiviral drug research and developments.
  • Asisted Triastek with the 3D drug printing patent portfolio.

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP leverages its regional network to advise a broad range of pharmaceutical, diagnostics and healthcare companies, as well as private equity and financial institutions operating or investing in the sector.  Jack Wang and David Shen are the main names to note, specialising in cross-border M&A and financing, and patent litigation and licensing transactions, respectively.

Practice head(s):

David Shen; Jack Wang

Work highlights

  • Acting for a private equity firm on the acquisition of a medical device contract development and manufacturing organisation.
  • Assisting a Chinese pharmaceutical company with its IP asset purchase transaction with a multinational pharmaceutical company relating to the purchase of a key drug asset in China.
  • Successfully representing a multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company in challenging the Chinese Patent Reexamination Board (PRB)’s invalidation decision regarding a Cardiovascular drug.
  • Assisted a healthcare and biotechnology company’s subsidiary with its trade mark strategies in China and the US.

Arnold & Porter

Arnold & Porter entered into the ranking this year with the hire of regulatory and compliance specialists Andrew Chen and John Tan, joined from Covington & Burling LLP and Reed Smith LLP respectively. Recent highlights include assisting a multinational medical devices company with regulatory strategies for collaborating with Chinese medical devices manufacturers and healthcare institutes and advising a pharmaceutical company on the use of interactive digital media for the promotion of drugs.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Chen; John Tan

Other key lawyers:

Yingxi Fu

Key clients


Carestream Health

Align Technology

Work highlights

  • Advised Carestream on the sale of its China medical imaging business and, in a separate matter, assisted the client in the negotiation of a long-term supply agreement between Carestream Health and Carestream Dental.
  • Advising for AdvaMed on its anti-corruption compliance.

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird excels in representing pharmaceutical and life sciences companies in complex contentious and non-contentious IP matters. The firm is particularly active in the mobile health and medical devices space which it advises on data protection, investment and IP issues. Alison Wong heads the team from its Hong Kong office, which also includes Shanghai-based IP partner Christine Yiu and transactional practitioner Sven-Michael Werner.

Practice head(s):

Alison Wong

Other key lawyers:

Christine Yiu; Sven-Michael Werner

Key clients

Merck KGaA

Work highlights

  • Representing Merck KGaA in proceedings against members of the Merck Sharp & Dohme group of companies pertaining the use of the term Merck.
  • Advised a medical devices company on its formation of a joint venture in China.

Cooley LLP

Cooley LLP is widely recognised as a powerhouse for cross-border licensing, M&A, financing and capital markets transactions representing a mix of mature companies and start-ups, venture capitalists and financial institutions. The team advised CStone Pharmaceuticals on its exclusive collaboration and license agreement with Blueprint Medicines to develop and commercialise its cancer therapy and acted for ViVo Capital on leading an investor syndicate in the formation of Visen Pharmaceuticals, a joint venture with Ascendis Pharma which will develop, manufacture and commercialise Ascendis’ rare endocrine disease therapies. Christina Zhang , James Lu and Patrick Loofbourrow are names to note within the team which also saw the arrival of Henry Yin who joined from Kirkland & Ellis in 2018.

Practice head(s):

James Lu; Christina Zhang


The team is attentive and is solution-oriented‘.

Key clients

CStone Pharmaceuticals


Shenzhen Salubris Pharmaceuticals

Zai Lab

ViVo Capital

Advantech Capital

Decheng Capital

ASLAN Pharmaceuticals

Taiwan Liposome Company

Hope Medicine

Work highlights

  • Advised Tocagen, a clinical-stage and cancer-selective gene therapy company, on its agreement with Beijing Apollo Venus Biomedical Technology for the exclusive right to develop and commercialise Toca 511 & Toca FC within the greater China region.
  • Acted for Zai Lab on its exclusive collaboration and license agreement with MacroGenics to develop and commercialise three immuno-oncology programs of MacroGenics.
  • Assisted CStone Pharmaceuticals with its $250m series-B financing.
  • Advised ASLAN Pharmaceuticals on its $42m IPO, which marks the first Taipei exchange-listed company to go public in the US.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's client roster features world's leading pharmaceutical, healthcare, medical devices and technology companies as well as their investors. Among its recent mandates, the team advised Nanjing Cenbest on its RMB5.96bn acquisition of the business of Dendreon Pharmaceuticals from Sanpower Group and is assisting a leading pharmaceutical company with its compliance and investigation matters and employment issues arising from ethical policy violations in China. The team also has notable experience in handling IP, data privacy and regulatory matters. Qiang Li and Hong Kong-based Sammy Fang are recommended for transactional and regulatory matters respectively, and William Fisher is a key name to note who focuses on patents, trade secrets and IP transactions.

Practice head(s):

Li Qiang; Sammy Fang

Other key lawyers:

William Fisher; James Chang; Ting Xiao

Key clients

Besunyen Holdings Company

Charles River Laboratories International

Fosun Pharma

Incyte Corporation

Ping An Healthcare and Technology Company

Sanpower Group Co

Sinopharm Group Company

Changsha Sinocare

Sirio Pharma Company

Tong Ren Tang Technologies

China Grand Enterprise

Work highlights

  • Assisted Nanjing Cenbest on its RMB5.96bn acquisition of the business of Dendreon Pharmaceuticals from Sanpower Group.
  • Advised China Ping An Insurance Overseas on its joint venture with Tsumura & Co, manufacturer of Chinese herbal extracts and traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Acting for a well known medical devices company on a complex trade mark dispute.
  • Advising a China-based private equity firm on its acquisition of a European pharmaceutical company.