Japanese investor’s £31m for renewables and life sciences

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A JAPANESE investment house will today launch a $50 million (£31m) fund to pump cash into Scotland’s life science companies and renewable energy technology developers.

Riken Innovation Capital (RIC), part of scientific research organisation Riken, is attracting investment for the fund from “major Japanese banks”, with the first close – at $25m – due at the end of this month.

The Scottish Investment Bank, Scottish Enterprise’s investment arm, will also pump money into the companies through its co-investment fund.

Paul Lewis, managing director at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Riken is a major player in ­Japan’s research and funding community and this new partnership represents an opportunity for Scottish companies not only to access significant international investment but to collaborate with a world leading research institution to help ­develop and commercialise technologies for the future.”

The deal follows on from the launch last year of the Scottish Investment Bank’s £103m Renewable Energy Investment Fund and from the arrival of Rock Spring Ventures, which is setting up a £50m venture capital fund to invest in life science companies.

Industry bodies welcomed the latest cash injection.

Niall Stuart, chief executive at Scottish Renewables, said: “This could be a source of investment, with wave and tidal technologies eager for capital as they seek to make the next important step towards commercialisation.”

Scott Johnstone, chief executive of the Scottish Lifesciences Association, added: “We welcome the collaboration between the Scottish Investment Bank and RIC, and look forward to hearing about new investment flowing into this vibrant key sector of the Scottish economy.”