CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Semma Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing cellular
therapies for the treatment of diabetes, announced today that Mark
Fishman, M.D., has joined its Board of Directors as Chairman.
“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
“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.
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,
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.
For more information, visit www.semma-tx.com.