Japan’s Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company has invested 500 million yen (US$4.6 million) in a local cancer immunotherapy startup, raising its total impact investments since 2017 to 7.82 billion yen.
The startup, Noile-Immune Biotech Inc., primarily develops therapies for haematological cancers.
Impact investing refers to investments in enterprises that generate social and environmental impact, in addition to financial returns.
Total impact investment assets worldwide increased to $715 billion as of April 2020 from $502 billion a year earlier, according to figures from the Global Impact Investing Network.
The investment in Noile-Immune is part of Dai-ichi Life’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) policy.
“As a responsible institutional investor, the company is actively engaged in ESG investment to contribute to realising a sustainable society as well as to improve its investment return through sophisticated and diverse investment methods,” the insurer says in a statement on March 22.
Dai-ichi Life is at the forefront of impact investing among Japanese insurers, with investments across a range of industries such as renewable energy and microfinance.
Including Noile-Immune, it has invested in 20 impact investment projects over the past four years.
Tokyo-based Dai-ichi Life had 39.18 trillion yen of total assets as of December 2020.