Leadership

 

Robert Millman, JD
CEO

Robert serves as the CEO and co-founder of Semma Therapeutics. Prior to founding Semma, Robert founded and led CoStim Pharmaceuticals as its first President, a company focused on cancer immunotherapy, and ultimately directed its sale to Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Prior to his role as a start-up CEO, Robert was a Managing Director at MPM Capital where he helped form and served as the start-up IP Counsel or President of several MPM portfolio companies including Epizyme, iPierian, and Verastem. Prior to joining MPM, Robert was Chief IP Counsel at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., the Chief IP Counsel at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the Chief IP Counsel at Celera Genomics, and Patent Counsel at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Earlier in his career, Robert was an associate at Morrison and Foerster LLP and a patent agent/specialist at Sterne, Kessler Goldstein and Fox, LLP. Robert received his J.D. degree from the Washington College of Law at The American University, an M.S. degree in Genetics from Washington State University and a B.S. degree in Biochemistry from the University of California, Riverside.

 


 

Doug Melton, PhD
Founder

Doug Melton, PhD, is the Scientific Founder of Semma Therapeutics and a Board Observer. Dr. Melton is the Xander University Professor at Harvard and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. He is Co-Chair of the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. The scientific basis and motivation for Semma was created in Doug’s lab and he teamed up with Robert Millman to found the company. Doug graduated with a B.S. in biology from the University of Illinois then went to Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar where he earned a B.A. in History and Philosophy of Science and a Ph.D., under Sir John Gurdon, in Molecular Biology at Trinity College, Cambridge University and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His numerous prizes and awards include the Lounsberry Medal from the National Academy of Sciences and the Joslin Medal. Doug is a founder of Gilead Sciences and Curis. In recognition of his research and advocacy for stem cell research he was chosen as the Scientific American Policy Leader of the Year in 2007 and has twice been named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

 


 

Walter Blättler, PhD
Vice President, Manufacturing

Walter leads manufacturing efforts and is part of the founding team of Semma. He served as Vice President of Development at CoStim Pharmaceuticals and before as Executive Vice President of Science and Technology at ImmunoGen, Inc. Prior to ImmunoGen, Walter held various positions at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, in Boston, and joined ImmunoGen at its newly established laboratories as Vice President and subsequently Senior Vice President, Research and Development. He also served as a Director at ImmunoGen Inc. and was a member of the Supervisory Board of Morphosys AG in Munich. Walter studied Chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (ETH Zurich), and subsequently held a research position as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Harvard University, Cambridge, USA. He received both his Masters degree and his Dr. sc. nat. from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

 


 

Felicia Pagliuca, PhD
Scientific Co-Founder, Vice President of Cell Biology Research and Development

Felicia currently serves as Vice President of Cell Biology Research and Development and is scientific co-founder of Semma. She leads internal cell-based research and development and plays a key role in supporting Semma's preclinical, regulatory, and manufacturing strategies for its cell therapy products. Felicia also works closely with Semma’s senior leadership on corporate development activities, including key collaborations and partnerships. Previously, Felicia was a postdoctoral fellow in Professor Doug Melton’s laboratory at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Felicia was part of the team in the Melton lab that discovered how to generate stem cell derived beta cells and published a seminal paper in Cell in 2014. She is an expert in stem cell biology and diabetes and one of the inventors of Semma Therapeutics’ key technologies. Felicia received a B.S. from Duke University and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University where she was a Marshall Scholar. She is currently on leave from Harvard Business School where she was a Kaplan Fellow.

 


 

Moses Goddard, MD
CMO

Moses is Semma’s CMO.   He maintains an appointment at Brown University as Associate Professor of Surgery, which he has held for over 25 years.  Beginning in the mid-1980s, Moses followed his passion for cell therapy with founder roles at CytoTherapeutics and later Neurotech USA, where he was responsible for technology development, clinical research, regulatory affairs, and business operations for technologies based on the hollow fiber membrane macroencapsulation platform.  He has served on a number of scientific advisory boards and in consultancy roles for several biotechnology companies, is a former trustee of Rhode Island Hospital, is recognized as a world leader in developing novel surgical procedures for implantation of bioartificial organs and devices, and has significant experience in interacting with the FDA throughout the regulatory process.  Moses has been involved in the development of cell therapies targeting chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, diabetes, wound healing, and ALS.   Most recently Moses served as co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cytosolv.

 


 

Christopher G. Thanos, PhD
Vice President, Delivery

Chris leads cell encapsulation and delivery efforts at Semma. He has 15 years of cellular therapy experience in early-stage biotechnology companies including Neurotech, Living Cell Technologies, and TSC, a consulting group that he formed to provide cell encapsulation expertise to industry. Chris has been involved in the inception, design, formulation, characterization, and clinical / regulatory process of both micro- and macro- encapsulation platforms. He has appointments at Brown University in the Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology, where he completed his doctoral work in the field of oral drug delivery under the guidance of Edith Mathiowitz. Chris has contributed to numerous patents and peer-reviewed scientific articles spanning the disciplines of biomaterials, encapsulation, nanotechnology, tissue engineering, xenotransplantation, diabetes, and diseases of the nervous system. Most recently Chris served as co-founder and VP of Research and Development at Cytosolv.

 


 

Jason Gaglia, MD, MMSc
Vice President, Clinical Sciences

Jason started in the field of islet transplantation over 15 years ago as a member of the clinical islet transplant team at the National Institutes of Health. At Harvard, he led a team demonstrating noninvasive imaging of inflammation in the pancreas with the development of type 1 diabetes. More recently he has served as Director of the Hood Center for Prevention of Childhood Diabetes at Joslin Diabetes Center and the principal investigator for numerous type 1 diabetes clinical trials. He maintains an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School. Jason holds four undergraduate degrees from Rutgers College and received both his medical degree and Master of Science in clinical research from Harvard Medical School.

 


 

Jeff Imbaro, MS, MBA
Vice President, Operations and Alliances

Jeff leads operations and strategic alliances at Semma Therapeutics and is part of the founding team. Before joining Semma, Jeff led a team of management consultants at Pursuit Solutions to improve processes of Genzyme’s Rare Disease Unit. Prior to that, Jeff created and led the Operational Alliances group at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) in Cambridge, MA. The group was responsible for Alliance Management of all major collaborative research alliances within NIBR, as well as for implementing all collaborative scientific relationships that supported NIBR’s internal research programs. The effort won an Operational Excellence award for comprehensive redesign of all internal business processes relating to collaborative research contracts. Prior to joining Novartis, Jeff was a bench scientist at various Boston biotechs. He holds an MBA from the F. W. Olin School of Business at Babson College, as well as a Master of Science in Molecular Genetics from the University of New Hampshire.

 


 

David Cordo
CFO

David Cordo has been working in the life sciences industry since 1990. He held senior management positions in finance at Biogen Idec during his seven-year tenure. He was responsible for putting in place new policies, procedures and infrastructure for the worldwide commercial launch of Avonex, the company’s first billion dollar drug. For seven years, David was the Treasurer of Millennium Pharmaceuticals until May 2006. At Millennium, he led finance teams in the raising of an $800M follow-on equity offering and a $400M convertible debt offering. He also led finance teams for three acquisitions, focused on diligence and integration. Since leaving Millennium, David has been Interim Chief Financial Officer for Epizyme, Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, CoStim Pharmaceuticals, Mitokyne, Potenza Therapeutics, Preceres, Metamark Genetics and Avila Therapeutics. David has also provided consulting services for the reverse IPO of EPIX Pharmaceuticals and Predix Pharmaceuticals, the convertible debt exchange offers and placement of new notes for Oscient Pharmaceuticals and treasury consulting services for Infinity Pharmaceuticals and EMD Serono. David received his MBA from Nichols College, his BSBA from Stonehill College and is a CPA.