SoftBank Group diversifies their second Vision Fund portfolio with a US$59.7 million investment in Japanese BioTech firm Aculys Pharma. 

Despite having placed an emphasis on smaller US and China investments, Japan’s SoftBank Group‘s second Vision Fund has now invested in their first local company, BioTech startup Aculys Pharma.

Aculys received a JP¥6.8 billion (US$59.7 million) investment from SoftBank’s Vision Fund, as the tech investor continues to diversify their portfolio outside of the regions of their current investments.

Co-founded in January 2021 by Kazunari Tsunaba, the former president of Novartis‘ Japanese division, Aculys is based in Kanazawa Prefecture and aims to bring sleep disorder treatments approved for sale in the US and Europe to the Japanese market. This latest investment will fund clinical trials and distribution, in addition to data analysis conducted by Artificial Intelligence (AI) for potential clients.

HealthTech and BioTech are industries being rapidly adopted worldwide due to highly increased demand brought on by the ongoing pandemic. Digitisation and HealthTech are expected to provide solutions for this ever-growing global demand.

SoftBank’s first Vision Fund launched with backing from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and largely invested in high-value targets working with AI in the US and China. The Fund is currently overseeing US$98.6 billion in assets.

The Group’s second Vision Fund is completely self-financed and will focus on smaller targets, with a wider geographic spread. This will allow for reduced risk, especially given ongoing uncertainty in various regions due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The Fund’s investments averaged around US$220 million as of the end of June this year, about 20% the size of those from their first Vision Fund. The fund is now looking into Europe, the Middle East, and Asian markets beyond China, now including Japan, where further investments may soon be included.

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