“We are excited to welcome Dr. Fishman to the Semma Board of Directors. We look forward to learning from his years of leadership and experience in successfully progressing discoveries into therapeutic development,” commented Robert Millman, CEO and Co-Founder of Semma.
"I have personally known Dr. Fishman for over 20 years and was fortunate to have worked with him as a scientific advisor to Novartis,” stated Dr. Melton, Semma’s Scientific Founder and head of Semma’s Scientific Advisory Board. “Dr. Fishman’s appointment is part of Semma’s commitment to the highest quality input at every level. Dr. Fishman brings a depth of pharmaceutical and clinical experience that will augment Semma’s ability to successfully transition its research into robust clinical trials.
“It is with great excitement that I join the board of directors at Semma Therapeutics. I believe that the field of cellular therapy is at a turning point, and that Semma Therapeutics is one of the best positioned companies to fulfill the promise of regenerative medicine,” stated Dr. Fishman.
The worldwide diabetes epidemic takes a large toll on individual patients, families, and communities, significantly impacting patient quality of life and increasing risk for serious health complications and early mortality. The transplantation of human cadaveric islet cells into patients with diabetes has proven to be an effective treatment for the disease with a substantial number of patients achieving multi-year insulin independence despite the need for and limitations of lifelong immunosuppression. Semma technology enables the production of unlimited quantities of islets using stem cells and brings with it the promise to provide the material resources needed to develop and expand islet replacement therapy for the treatment of many forms of diabetes.
Dr. Fishman is currently Professor in the Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology and Chief of the Pathways Service in Medicine at the MGH. Previously, he served for 13 years as the founding President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, appointed in 2002 to devise and implement a new global strategy for Novartis' drug discovery effort. During his tenure, NIBR discovered and brought through successful early clinical trials 90 new medicines in more than 120 indications, including regenerative medicines for disorders of aging. Before joining Novartis, Dr. Fishman was Chief of Cardiology and founding Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, as well as Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School where his laboratory discovered many of the genes that drive formation of vertebrate organs, doing so thorough one of the first large scale genetic screens in the zebrafish. He completed his internal medicine residency, chief residency and cardiology training at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Fishman graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Yale College in the US in 1972, and with an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1976. He has been honored with many awards and distinguished lectureships, is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, serves on the council of the National Academy of Medicine and, and is the author of over 200 publications and the textbook, “Medicine”.
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.