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Today: May 23, 2024
January 4, 2024
1 min read

Japan’s dev bank invests in UK life sciences for the first time.

Key Points:

  • The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has made its first ever investment in the UK life sciences sector, providing £25 million in funding to biotech firm Freeline.
  • Freeline is developing gene therapies for rare diseases and plans to use the funding to scale up its manufacturing capabilities and advance clinical trials.

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has made its first ever investment in the UK life sciences sector, providing £25 million in funding to biotech firm Freeline, in a sign of continued Japanese interest in British technology and innovation. The investment is part of a larger £88 million funding round for Freeline, which is developing gene therapies for rare diseases. The financing will be used in part to scale up the company’s manufacturing capabilities and to advance clinical trials.

Freeline’s gene therapies are based on a technology called “adeno-associated virus” (AAV), which can deliver therapeutic genes to targeted cells in the body. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with genetic diseases caused by a single gene mutation. The company has a pipeline of potential therapies for diseases including haemophilia B, Fabry disease, and Gaucher disease.

For JBIC, this investment is part of a broader push into the life sciences sector as it seeks to support Japanese companies’ expansion into global markets. The move comes as Japan looks to diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on traditional manufacturing industries. Investment in the UK life sciences sector is seen as a strategic opportunity for JBIC, as the country is globally recognized for its strength in pharmaceuticals and biotech.

The investment in Freeline also highlights the continued interest in UK life sciences companies from international investors. Despite the uncertainty caused by Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK remains an attractive destination for investment in this sector due to its strong scientific research base and skilled workforce. Additionally, the UK government’s Life Sciences Vision, announced earlier this year, aims to position the country as a global hub for life sciences, attracting investment and fostering innovation.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also highlighted the importance of the life sciences sector, with increased focus and funding for the development and manufacture of vaccines and therapies. The investment in Freeline is a testament to the potential of gene therapies in addressing rare diseases and the growing demand for innovative treatments.

Overall, the investment by JBIC in Freeline demonstrates the continued interest in UK life sciences companies from international investors, as well as the potential for gene therapies to revolutionize the treatment of rare diseases. It also highlights the strategic importance of the UK life sciences sector and the government’s efforts to position the country as a global leader in this field.

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