Fujifilm Launches $60 Million VC Fund for Early-Stage Biotech

Fujifilm_VCG/VCG via Getty Images

VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Tokyo-based Fujifilm announced that it has launched a strategic life sciences investment fund.

Fujifilm kicked off the fund with an initial investment of 7 billion JPY (approximately $60 million). The fund will be used to target partnerships with promising early-stage biotechnology companies to enhance Fujifilm's life sciences portfolio. 

"Fujifilm is considering a wide range of new and innovative business constructs in order to cultivate and foster relationships with emerging biotechs to create new, and strengthen existing, businesses," the company said in a press release.  

The fund will be managed by the Life Sciences Corporate Venture Capital (LS-CVC), a new group established within Fujifilm's Life Sciences Strategy Headquarters in Tokyo. The Life Sciences Strategy Headquarters was launched in April 2021, designed to plan and promote an integrated strategy to accelerate business growth in life sciences. The Life Sciences Strategy Headquarters is in charge of managing and spending the fund's resources and creating a business development timeline with biotech startups. 

The LS-CVC's mission is to accelerate business growth within the life sciences industry, specifically through contract biopharmaceutical development and manufacturing, drug discovery research markets and industrial cell culture media. Starting with Fujifilm's Life Science Strategic Business Offices in Dusseldorf, Germany and Cambridge, Massachusetts, the company will reach out to early-stage biotechnology companies to offer funding deals and partnerships. In addition to managing this new fund, the venture capital group will also now be managing Fujifilm's entire life science investment portfolio. 

"In many cases, early-stage companies are the first to develop cutting-edge technologies and innovative business models. I believe LS-CVC activities will enable us to speedily develop new partnerships with such promising companies and to deliver value to society through innovative products," said Takatoshi Ishikawa, general manager of Fujifilm's Life Sciences Strategy Headquarters. 

For many people worldwide, Fujifilm's brand is associated with their photography business that started in 1934. However, in the 1980s, Fujifilm started using their digital technologies for medical applications, starting with computed radiography. The company is now a global leader in several life sciences markets, including photoacoustic imagingspina bifida therapies, recombinant cell culture supplementsassisted reproductive technology and synapse and cardiology imaging solutions, the latter of which Fujifilm was ranked "Best in KLAS" for its Three Synapse® product. 

On top of Fujifilm's success in those markets, the company has plans to expand further and faster, and the venture capital fund is just the latest piece in its quickly growing range of offerings.

In January 2022, Fujifilm announced a new partnership with Atara Biotherapeutics and a manufacturing agreement with Outlook Therapeutics. In July 2021, Fujifilm launched a virtual hospital to showcase its comprehensive healthcare portfolio and provide educational content. 

Additionally, Fujifilm is dedicated to expanding life sciences development outside of human disease treatment. The company's announcement also mentioned plans to work toward food security, environmental research, societal problems and climate change, areas of life sciences that are sometimes overlooked. With the new funding available through the Life Sciences Corporate Venture Capital fund, perhaps these vital areas may receive attention as well at a future date. 

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