Semma Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on the development of novel regenerative medicines, announced today the successful completion of a highly oversubscribed $114 million Series B financing. Proceeds will be used to bring Semma’s lead development program, encapsulated stem cell-derived islets, through clinical proof-of-concept in patients and to continue exploration of other regenerative medicine therapeutics. Semma’s proprietary technologies enable the generation of billions of functional, insulin-producing beta cells which have the potential to control blood sugar in people living with diabetes.
Eight Roads Ventures and Cowen Healthcare Investments co-led the financing with significant investments from all existing investors including MPM Capital, F-Prime Capital Partners and ARCH Venture Partners, existing strategic partners Novartis, Medtronic and the JDRF T1D Fund, and new investors including ORI Healthcare Fund, Wu Capital, 6 Dimensions Capital and SinoPharm Capital. In conjunction with this financing, Semma named Daniel Auerbach from Eight Roads and Kevin Raidy from Cowen to its board of directors.
“We are now well positioned, between Semma’s scientific progress and this recent financing, to bring Semma’s lead therapeutic through clinical proof of concept in patients with Type 1 diabetes, while we expand into related arenas and build a leading regenerative medicine company,” said Mark C. Fishman, M.D., chairman of the board at Semma Therapeutics. “We’re delighted that this accomplished group of investors share our mission to cure insulin-dependent diabetes.”
Founded in 2014, Semma Therapeutics is developing transformative stem cell-derived therapies. The company’s initial focus is on new treatments for Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) patients who currently depend on insulin treatments. The current standard of care for T1DM patients requires use of an insulin pump or multiple daily insulin injections. However, the current treatments are not curative, and patients often face a lifetime of difficult disease management and serious complications including kidney failure, blindness and nerve damage.
Semma has developed a state-of-the-art cell delivery technology that protects its stem cell-derived beta (SC-beta) cells from the patient’s immune system. In preclinical studies, SC-beta cells demonstrated comparability to beta cells within human islets both in vitro and in vivo, effectively controlling diabetes.
“I’m very pleased and impressed to see how far the science has progressed at Semma; what the team has accomplished from a development perspective on both the biology side and engineering side is remarkable,” said Douglas Melton, Semma Therapeutics founder and board observer. “Semma's scientists have very effectively dedicated themselves to systems that reliably generate cells indistinguishable from human pancreatic beta cells and to the invention of novel devices that are immunologically protective and surgically practical. We’re very encouraged and excited about the potential this program has for diabetic patients and their families.”