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Mitsui & Co. invests in Singapore pharma marketer Wellesta

Trading house sees growth in Asia for drugs already approved in developed world

Mitsui & Co. hopes to tap demand for medicines in developing Asian countries, which major pharmaceutical companies sometimes pass over due to market size.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co. will join the Japan Bank for International Cooperation to invest in a Singapore pharmaceutical startup that does the leg work of securing drug approvals and marketing rights in developing countries, a relatively untapped growth area.

Wellesta Holdings announced the investment on Thursday. The total is expected to be 50 million Singapore dollars ($37.5 million), with Mitsui chipping in SG$30 million and the government-backed JBIC providing the remaining SG$20 million. A special purpose vehicle will be established to acquire Wellesta shares and convertible bonds.

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