Healthcare and life sciences: foreign firms in China

Baker McKenzie FenXun

Working closely with lawyers based out of Hong Kong, Baker McKenzie FenXun's mainland China team forms an integral part of the firm's overarching Asia Pacific healthcare group, that provides transactional, regulatory and IP expertise to healthcare/life sciences clients on both inbound and outbound matters. The team is very well-versed in the technology underpinning transactions and adds value to clients by having access to numerous non-lawyer medical experts within the team, as well as being able to resource matters utilising lawyers who hold PhDs in medical-related fields. As well as advising on purely Asia-related mandates, the practice also excels at advising on the China aspects of global M&A transactions, where it is able to draw from the resources throughout the firm's huge international network. The team has been very busy of late advising healthcare clients on various issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic, including assisting CytoSorbents on a local review of its agreement with China Medical System Holdings to bring CytoSorbents' medical device equipment to Chinese patients for urgent use in combating the coronavirus infection. Hong Kong-based practitioner Isabella Liu heads the Asia Pacific healthcare group that also includes recommended mainland China practitioners, including Clement Ngai, who excels in handling China-based pharmaceutical/regulatory issues and technology transactions, and Cherrie Shi, who has a focus on M&A in the sector.

Practice head(s):

Isabella Liu

Key clients

CytoSorbents

GlaxoSmithKline

Siemens

Johnson & Johnson

Sanofi

Novartis

Work highlights

  • Assisted with the local review of CytoSorbents’ agreement with China Medical System Holdings Limited to bring CytoSorbents’ medical device equipment to Chinese patients for urgent use in combating the COVID-19 coronavirus infection.
  • Advised GlaxoSmithKline on the international aspects of the proposed acquisition of a global consumer healthcare business from Pfizer and proposed joint venture.

Ropes & Gray LLP

Strengthened by the arrival of numerous associates over the past year from various high-profile international law firms, Ropes & Gray LLP has 'deep knowledge of the industry', as well as the resources and expertise to provide 'practical advice' to many of the world's most prominent life sciences companies and private equity sponsors investing in the sector. With over 30 practitioners spread across Shanghai and Beijing with a focus on the sector (from a transactional, regulatory, and IP perspective), and also able to draw upon the resources of a renowned US practice, should the need arise, the firm is frequently at the forefront of the most significant corporate and commercial mandates within the space. Formerly in-house counsel at Johnson & Johnson (where he served as Asia Pacific M&A Regional Counsel), Eric Wu has an excellent insider's perspective, and alongside Arthur Mok, who himself benefits from many years' private practice experience advising pharmaceutical/life sciences companies and the funds investing into them, forms the backbone of the firm's life sciences China transactional offering. Regulatory expert Katherine Wang has 'a solid background in the medical industry' and is able to provide 'practical strategies and solutions' on transactional work, as well as day-to-day counselling and client interactions with the various agencies. On the IP front, Geoffrey Lin and counsel David Chen are also central to the firm's overarching multi-disciplinary strength in the sector, particularly as it relates to commercialising and monetizing life sciences IP.

Practice head(s):

Arthur Mok

Testimonials

‘The team has an excellent knowledge of the industry and current regulatory environment, and is able to provide practical advice in response to the changing landscape.’

‘The firm has deep knowledge and awareness of the industry. Attorneys also have in-house experience.’

‘I value it for its niche specialist expertise in the sector, ranging from healthcare M&A to regulatory law.’

‘Eric Wu and Arthur Mok have deep expertise in legal, deal structure and project execution.’

‘Katherine Wang has a solid legal background in the medical industry and is able to provide practical strategies and solutions.’

Key clients

Eli Lilly

Everest Medicines

Innovent Biologics

Zai Lab

Amgen

Work highlights

  • Advised Eli Lilly on the divestiture of mature pharmaceutical product portfolios in China and a manufacturing facility in Suzhou to Eddingpharm.
  • Advised Everest Medicines on its in-license with Immunomedics of sacituzumab govitecan, an antibody drug conjugate.
  • Advised InnoventBiologics on its collaboration with Coherus; as well as its collaboration with Eli Lilly regarding OXM3, a dual GLP-1 and glucagon receptor agonist that will enter China as a potential best-in-class, mid-stage clinical development diabetes compound.

Allen & Overy LLP

Acting on standalone mandates, as well as forming an integral part of the firm's global life sciences group, Allen & Overy LLP's corporate and finance- focused China team has a strong and growing pedigree on behalf of financial sponsors investing in the sector; underwriting banks on capital markets mandates; and pharmaceuticals, biotech, medical devices, and healthcare companies engaged in M&A and commercial activity. Clients also benefit from significant Greater China antitrust, regulatory, IP and anti-corruption knowledge (throughout mainland China and Hong Kong), while the firm's recent establishment of a Shanghai Free Trade Zone alliance, enhances its ability to provide a true one-stop-shop service, by virtue of its ability to offer local PRC law advice. Shanghai-based partner Jack Wang excels at advising  pharmaceutical companies and private equity sponsors on M&A mandates involving complex regulatory issues.  Beijing-based partner Victor Ho  co-heads the team alongside Wang. David Shen joined Johnson & Johnson in May 2020.

Practice head(s):

Jack Wang; Victor Ho

Other key lawyers:

Eugene Chen; François Renard

Testimonials

‘The professional and competent team takes a practical approach to pharmaceutical-related legal enquiries and can address them properly and efficiently.’

Key clients

Reckitt Benckiser

Luye Pharma Group Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised five investment banks, including UBS and Morgan Stanley, on a placing of new H shares of HKEx-listed company Sinopharm Group, raising gross proceeds of approximately $523m, with approvals from the China Securities Regulatory Commission, National Development and Reform Commission, and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.
  • Advised Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc on a joint venture for the distribution of its Hygiene Home products in Greater China.
  • Acting for Luye Pharma Group Ltd. in its cornerstone investment in Alphamab Oncology. Morgan Stanley, CLSA and Jefferies are the lead underwriters in the IPO of Alphamab Oncology.

CMS

With two partners based in mainland China and also able to access resources in other key Asia jurisdictions, including Hong Kong and Singapore, and globally (particularly across Europe) throughout the firm's large international network of offices, CMS is well-equipped to advise a raft of leading international pharmaceutical clients on their inbound work, as well as a growing cadre of China-based companies. Beijing-based partner Nick Beckett co-heads the firm's global life sciences and healthcare group and incorporates his IP and litigation skills to good effect across a raft of multi-jurisdictional mandates, including providing advice on strategic collaborations, compliance reviews and IP-related disputes. Shanghai-based partner Nicolas Zhu leads the firm's China life sciences and healthcare group and regularly advises European companies on inbound corporate and commercial mandates in the sector.

Practice head(s):

Nick Beckett; Nicolas Zhu

Other key lawyers:

Roxie Meng; Fan Wu

Key clients

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited

The Wellcome Trust

UCL

Boehringer-Ingelheim

GlaxoSmithKline

Merck KGaA

Novartis

Bayer

Eli Lilly

Medtronic

Cooley LLP

With more than 20 lawyers based in China that have a focus on life sciences-related work, and also able to leverage the firm's huge expanse of experience and knowledge across its US offices, Cooley LLP is a compelling proposition for international and Asia-based entities engaged in inbound and outbound work. Led out of Shanghai by Christina Zhang, the team's in-depth subject matter knowledge (enhanced by a number of practitioners with advanced science degrees) and transactional expertise, enables the the firm to handle a raft of corporate, finance, M&A work in the space. As well as advising more established and mature entities in the market, the firm is also a prominent player in the venture capital space and represents investors and investees throughout the funding lifecycle. James Lu heads the firm's Shanghai business and finance practice and is a key member of the team, by dint of his corporate and securities expertise in the space, as well as his conversance at structuring complex cross-border commercial transactions, including licensing, distribution and joint venture agreements.

Key clients

Akeso Biopharma Co., Ltd.

Affamed Therapeutics/CBC Capital (C-bridge Capital)

Baidu Investment Management (Baidu Ventures)

EpimAb Therapeutics

Everest Medicine II Limited

GENFIT

HiFiBIO Therapeutics

Legend Biotech

Pacific 8 Ventures

RemeGen, Ltd.

Simcere Pharmaceutical Group

Wuhan Neurophth Biotech Co., Ltd.

Zai Lab

Work highlights

  • Advised GENFIT on its licensing and collaboration agreement with Terns Pharmaceuticals, a global biopharmaceutical company based in the US and China with a focus on developing novel and combination therapies to treat liver disease, with $35m upfront and up to $193m in potential development milestone.
  • Advised Zai Lab on its exclusive license agreement with Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., with $20m upfront and up to $185m in potential development and commercial milestone.
  • Cooley advised Simcere Pharmaceutical on an exclusive license with GI Innovation, Inc. to develop and commercialise GI-101, a bispecific immunotherapy agent, for the treatment of cancer in China, including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, with $6m upfront, up to $790m in development, regulatory and sales milestones and tiered royalties of up to a double-digit figure.

Covington & Burling LLP

Covington & Burling LLP's Shanghai-based team acts as a conduit for which to assist multinational pharma and life sciences companies (including many US-based institutional clients of the firm) on their China-based corporate and commercial activity, and is also regularly engaged by local entities on domestic and outbound matters. Weishi Li is pivotal to much of the cross-border transactional work handled by the team, including as it relates to strategic collaborations, joint ventures, licensing, acquisitions, co-promotion and distribution arrangements. The team also has expertise in China-based anti-corruption and investigative matters.

Practice head(s):

Weishi Li

Other key lawyers:

Eric Carlson

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Co-headed from mainland China by Roy Zou and Jun Wei - and also drawing from a multi-disciplinary offering in the sector from Greater China (including a strong Hong Kong presence) and globally throughout Europe and the US - Hogan Lovells International LLP is able to advise healthcare and life sciences entities across the spectrum of their product lifecycle, from a purely Asia-related perspective, as well as in the context of multi-jurisdictional mandates. Zou's former position within the PRC's Ministry of Foreign Affairs ensures that he has an excellent perspective on the regulatory issues impacting work in the life sciences/healthcare space, enabling him to effectively represent clients achieving the necessary regulatory approvals pursuant to commercial transactions in the space. Leveraging her broader corporate and finance expertise, Wei excels at assisting multinational life sciences companies on their proposed investments and operations in China to achieve their business objectives. At a more junior level, senior associate Jessie Xie is gaining a strong reputation in the life sciences regulatory arena, with expertise running the gamut from advice on product approvals and clinical trials, as well as ensuring compliance with Chinese laws and regulations relating to local manufacturing and global distribution of medical devices and drugs. Eugene Chen  joined Allen & Overy LLP in November 2019.

Practice head(s):

Jun Wei; Roy Zou

Other key lawyers:

Liang Xu; Lu Zhou; Phoebe Yan; Jessie Xie

Key clients

Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.

Work highlights

  • Advising Merck Sharp & Dohme in connection with a major cross-border litigation concerning rights in the MERCK trade mark and trade name.

Morrison & Foerster LLP

As one of Morrison & Foerster LLP's core areas of sector strength, it is perhaps unsurprising that life sciences-related work informs a significant volume of transactions handled out of its Greater China offices. The firm's Hong Kong office has excellent credentials for private equity and venture capital-related investor-side work within the sector and benefits from the ability to provide a holistic service which is conversant with the underlying science and IP considerations, as well as the corporate aspects of the transactions. The team is also able to leverage strong Silicon Valley credentials, of particular benefit for Chinese clients on outbound mandates and on potential US capital market exit strategies for funds which invested in the sector. Shanghai-based partner Chuan Sun has a focus on advising venture capital and private funds on their investments in the life sciences sector, and is also regularly engaged by international life sciences clients to advise on the regulatory issues associated with setting up in China.

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Wang; Gigi Yuen; Tyler Xiu

Key clients

Ally Bridge Group

Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co., Ltd.

Xingren (Trusted Doctors)

CBC Group (formerly C-Bridge Capital)

Everest Medicines Limited/Everest Medicines II Limited

Henlius

Triastek

Work highlights

  • Advised Ally Bridge Group in various life sciences investments.
  • Represented Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co. on its $165m exclusive license agreement with Novaliq GmbH.
  • Advised Triastek on its patent portfolio and strategy matters.

Arnold & Porter

The arrival in October 2019 of Jeffrey Yang from Reed Smith Richards Butler is the latest addition to Arnold & Porter's growing Shanghai office, adding further strength to the firm's flourishing life sciences offering, in light of his corporate and finance expertise within the sector. China life sciences group head Andrew Chen was the catalyst to the firm's growing presence in the market and has brought increased focus to the office's work in the sector, by dint of his longstanding track record assisting small-to-large life sciences companies effectively grapple with the regulatory hurdles associated with doing business in China. John Tan rounds out the team at a senior level and provides particular expertise to life sciences and pharmaceutical companies on anti-corruption-related compliance and investigations. All members of the team have recently played a pivotal role within the firm's Covid-19 taskforce, which has advised clients from the life sciences industry and other sectors impacted by the crisis.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Chen

Other key lawyers:

John Tan; Jeffrey Yang

Key clients

Operation Masks

Work highlights

  • Assisted Operation Masks, a newly created non-profit entity which sources PPE in China and provides it to hospitals and state governments in the United States, with conducting compliance and regulatory due diligence on potential suppliers and advised on China and US life sciences regulatory issues, US product liability issues, and China and US corporate issues.

Bird & Bird

Leveraging exceptional IP credentials across its Asia and international offices, Bird & Bird excels in providing co-ordinated strategies for regional and multinational life sciences/healthcare companies seeking to protect, enforce and commercialise their IPR. Hong Kong-based partner Alison Wong  heads up the firm's Asia Pacific life sciences and healthcare group and as well as her expertise at handling a range of commercial-related mandates (including advice on R&D agreements and technology licensing), is also noted for her ability to effectively co-ordinate complex patent litigation throughout the region. Shanghai-based practitioners Christine Yiu and Sven-Michael Werner, are noted for their IP and corporate expertise in the life sciences sector.  

Practice head(s):

Alison Wong (Hong Kong)

Key clients

Merck KGaA

Work highlights

  • Representing Merck KGaA in a global dispute on the use of the term “Merck” in Hong Kong and China.

DLA Piper

Drawing upon the expertise of employment, corporate, IP and regulatory lawyers, DLA Piper's Greater China multi-disciplinary team is able to advise multinational and China-based life sciences entities across a broad spectrum of work in the sector, including on M&A and commercial contracts advice, as well as counselling on major internal and regulatory investigations. As part of his broad-ranging corporate practice, Shanghai-based partner Qiang Li has experience of handling life-sciences-related M&A and is a key member of the team that also includes regulatory and investigations-focused Hong Kong-based partner Sammy Fang  and Shanghai-based senior associate Ting Xiao, whose IP expertise and former employment as a research scientist ensures she is well-placed to help guide clients to navigate the complexities of the China market.

Other key lawyers:

William (Skip) Fisher; Ting Xiao

Key clients

BioClinica Inc.

China Ping An and various subsidiaries including Ping An Insurance

U.S. Life Sciences Company

CMH Capital Co., Limited.

Work highlights

  • Successfully assisted Bioclinica on various HR matters and have become their trusted advisor.
  • Advising China Ping An and various subsidiaries including Ping An Insurance on several key transactions, including on its Chinese joint venture with Japan-based manufacturer of Chinese herbal extracts and traditional Chinese medicine Tsumura & Co.
  • Advised CMH Capital in its equity investment in Shanghai Kedu Healthcare Tech, a well- established medical equipment provider based in China, in connection with the company’s restructuring to an offshore holding structure in anticipation of an IPO on an international stock exchange.

O'Melveny

Based out of mainland China and Hong Kong, the 'very knowledgeable and professional' Asia life sciences group at O'Melveny has a strong reputation in in relation to corporate and finance mandates in the sector, with one client noting that the firm is 'the best of choice when it comes to healthcare capital market transactions'. 'Very pleasant and professional 'Beijing-based partner Ke Geng is a pivotal member of the team and has been involved in many of the firm's mandates for life sciences and healthcare issuers on their Hong Kong stock exchange-based IPOs.

Other key lawyers:

Yiming Liu

Testimonials

The team is very knowledgeable and professional.

The best choice when it comes to healthcare capital market transactions.

The very pleasant and professional Ke Geng is an expert in his practice, but also can present and articulate very well.

Key clients

AkesoBio

Pharmaron Beijing Co., Ltd.

Peijia Medical

Viva Biotech

Shanghai Kindly Medical Instruments Co., Ltd.

Aesthetic Medical International Holdings Group Limited

Henan Honliv Hospital

Hygeia Healthcare

Distinct Healthcare

Ansun Biopharma

Adagene, Inc.

Livzon MabPharm

Adicon Holdings

JHL Biotech

DTRM

Work highlights

  • Advised AkesoBio on its Hong Kong IPO.
  • Advised Pharmaron on its Hong Kong IPO.
  • Advised Peijia Medical on its Hong Kong IPO.