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Japan’s Dai-ichi Life invests 100 million yen in heart drug startup

impact investing
By Hui Ching-hoo   
January 7, 2021

Japan’s Dai-ichi Life Insurance has invested 100 million yen (US$970,000) in a local heart drug startup, bringing its total impact investments since 2017 to 7.02 billion yen.

The startup, Metcela Inc., is a developer of regenerative drugs for patients with chronic heart failure.

Dai-ichi Life expects the investment to “realise a high level of returns as well as extend healthy life expectancy of patients with heart failure”, the company says in a statement on January 5.

This is the 17th impact investment in three years for the insurer, which sees it as an important part of its environmental, social and governance investing.

“There has been an encouraging growth in the Japan impact investing sector over the past few years…,” an analyst at Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, a Singapore-based group of sustainable investment funders, tells Asia Asset Management.

She cites figures from the Japan Sustainable Investment Forum showing total sustainable investment assets under management in the country jumped 45% year-on-year to 336.4 trillion yen in 2019.

Dai-ichi Life says it’s actively engaged in ESG “for improving its investment return as well as solving social issues through sophisticated and diverse investment methods”.

According to its latest annual report, the insurer aims, by 2023, to double its total ESG investments from 1.37 trillion yen in 2019.

Tokyo-based Dai-ichi Life had 36.8 trillion yen of total assets as of September 2020.