Mizuho Financial Group Inc. has established an investment fund for life sciences startups.

Mizuho Bank and Mizuho Capital Co., both units of the major financial group, will invest a total of ¥5 billion for the new fund, the group announced Monday.

The investment fund will support companies that aim to develop new drugs and medical technologies at a time when the medicine market is expanding in line with the aging of society and increasing technical innovations.

The fund is expected to invest in companies doing fundamental research on medicines that require pharmaceutical approval.

It will invest between ¥300 million and ¥500 million for up to 12 years per company in cooperation with medical consultants who have knowledge on life science, according to Mizuho Financial Group.

Even after the fund’s investment projects are over, Mizuho group companies will continue their support according to the stages of development, such as the clinical phase.

Mizuho Financial Group have been pouring funds into companies through investment funds but had been facing difficulty stepping up investments in medical startups due to the significant amount of time and cost required to win pharmaceutical approval. The group thus decided to set up the fund specializing in the life science field with growth potential.

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