Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated will acquire Semma Therapeutics, a privately held biotechnology company pioneering the use of stem cell-derived human islets as a potentially curative treatment for type 1 diabetes, for $950 million in cash.
Vertex noted that Semma has demonstrated a differentiated approach to treat type 1 diabetes, a serious disease affecting over one million people in the United Statesalone. Semma has made two major scientific advances: the ability to produce large quantities of functional human pancreatic beta cells that restore insulin secretion and ameliorate hypoglycemia in animal models and a novel device that encapsulates and protects these cells from the immune system, enabling durable implantation without the need for ongoing immunosuppressive therapy.
“This acquisition aligns perfectly with our strategy of investing in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines for people with serious diseases in specialty markets,” said Jeffrey Leiden, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vertex. “We are excited to work with the talented scientists at Semma to build on their significant progress toward providing effective and potentially curative cell therapy options for people living with type 1 diabetes. We see a substantial opportunity to transform the treatment paradigm for type 1 diabetes, a specialty disease cared for by endocrinologists, both by advancing the development and manufacturing of the cells themselves, as well as through the highly innovative cell/device combination.”