Investment to Further the Development of Stem Cell-derived Islet Therapy
BOSTON, MA – March 22, 2017 – Semma Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing Stem Cell-derived Islet therapy for type 1 diabetes (T1D), today announced it has received an investment from the JDRF T1D Fund, a venture philanthropy fund exclusively devoted to finding and funding the best early-stage T1D commercial opportunities. Financial terms of the investment were not disclosed.
Founded in 2014 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Semma Therapeutics focuses on developing transformative therapies for T1D patients who currently depend on insulin injections. The current state-of-the-art therapy requires use of an invasive insulin pump or multiple daily insulin injections. However, insulin injections are not a cure and patients face a lifetime of difficult disease management and serious complications including kidney failure, blindness and nerve damage. Recent groundbreaking research conducted by Harvard University Professor Douglas Melton led to the discovery of a method to generate billions of functional, insulin-producing beta cells in the laboratory. Ongoing research at Semma Therapeutics is focused on combining these proprietary Stem Cell-derived Islet cells, or “SC-Islets,” with a state-of-the-art cell delivery and immune protection strategy that can protect these cells from the patient’s immune system and allow the beta cells to function as they do in non-diabetic individuals.
“Delivery of SC-Islets, primarily through the use of a filled, immune-protective device,- has the potential to provide a true replacement for the missing beta cells in a diabetic patient without toxic immunosuppression,” said Robert Millman, co-founder and CEO of Semma. “This investment from the JDRF T1D Fund will provide Semma with critical resources to move us closer to taking a product candidate into the clinic, and represents a validation of our work by JDRF, a leader in T1D research.”
“Semma’s stem cell and device technology is potentially transformational and we are excited to work with the Semma team to further advance the company’s groundbreaking work,” said Jonathan Behr, Managing Director of the T1D Fund. “The T1D Fund and Semma share the goal of commercializing a therapy providing those with T1D burden-free, durable, long term insulin independence and normal blood glucose control and this investment furthers that goal.”
About Semma Therapeutics
Semma Therapeutics was founded to develop transformative therapies for Type 1 diabetes patients. Work in the laboratory of Professor Douglas Melton led to the discovery of a method to generate billions of functional, insulin-producing beta cells in the laboratory. This breakthrough technology has been exclusively licensed to Semma Therapeutics for the development of a cell-based therapy for diabetes. Ongoing research at Semma Therapeutics is focused on combining these proprietary cells with a state-of-the-art device to provide a true replacement for the missing beta cells in a diabetic patient without immunosuppression. Semma Therapeutics is working to bring new therapeutic options to the clinic and improve the lives of patients with diabetes. The company is headquartered in Cambridge, MA, and was founded in 2014 with financing led by MPM Capital, F-Prime Capital, and strategic investors Novartis and Medtronic.
About The JDRF T1D Fund
The JDRF T1D Fund (www.t1dfund.org) is a venture philanthropy fund exclusively devoted to finding and funding the best early-stage T1D commercial opportunities to accelerate the delivery of treatments, preventions, and cures to patients. It was created to solve a critical funding gap in the T1D drug and device development pipeline. Through partnerships with private capital, including venture capital, pharma and foundations, the T1D Fund anticipates that it will be able to attract substantially more private investment to the T1D field than occurs today. The T1D Fund will initially focus on artificial pancreas systems, metabolic control, beta cell replacement, prevention, and beta cell restoration therapies, with an exclusive priority on the best commercial opportunities. The T1D Fund will reinvest any realized gains into new investments to further its mission.
JDRF T1D Fund
Amy Montalto, National Director