shutterstock_1329494750_pavel_kapysh
Pavel Kapysh / Shutterstock.com
4 September 2019AmericasSarah Morgan

Vertex to buy diabetes biotech firm for $950m

US-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals has announced it will pay $950 million to acquire Semma Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on researching a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

Semma has been working on using stem cell-derived human islets as a potentially curative treatment for type 1 diabetes.

Ongoing research at the biotech is focusing on combining the production process of pancreatic islet cells with a cell delivery system to restore insulin secretion in patients.

Jeffrey Leiden, chairman, president and CEO of Vertex, said: “This acquisition aligns perfectly with our strategy of investing in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines for people with serious diseases in speciality markets.”

He added that Vertex sees a “substantial opportunity to transform the treatment paradigm” for type 1 diabetes, both by advancing the development and manufacturing of the cells themselves and through the cell/device combination.

The deal, which was announced yesterday, September 3, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019.

David Altshuler, executive vice president, global research and chief scientific officer of Vertex, added: “Unlike insulin injections and insulin pumps, islet cell transplantation can provide physiologic regulation of blood glucose thereby potentially ameliorating or preventing both the hyperglycemic and hypoglycemic episodes associated with the current standards of care.”

In July, Semma published a pre-clinical proof-of-concept data based on data from its two lead programmes for type 1 diabetes testing stem cell-derived islets in both non-human primates and pigs.

Bastiano Sanna, president and CEO of Semma, said: “Vertex has a proven track record of serial innovation and a deep commitment to developing transformative therapies for patients in need. Being a part of Vertex will allow the Semma team to rapidly and effectively advance our cell therapy and delivery approaches to patients who need them.”

Sanna, who has previously served in the leadership team of Novartis’ cell and gene therapy unit as the global programme head of stem cell transplant and early programmes, will join Vertex as president of Semma.

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox.

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at atapping@newtonmedia.co.uk


More on this story

Americas
9 March 2017   US-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals has agreed to acquire a potential treatment for cystic fibrosis from Concert Pharmaceuticals, also in the US, for $160 million.
Americas
14 December 2017   US-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics have revealed plans to jointly develop and commercialise an investigational gene-editing treatment.

More on this story

Americas
9 March 2017   US-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals has agreed to acquire a potential treatment for cystic fibrosis from Concert Pharmaceuticals, also in the US, for $160 million.
Americas
14 December 2017   US-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics have revealed plans to jointly develop and commercialise an investigational gene-editing treatment.

More on this story

Americas
9 March 2017   US-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals has agreed to acquire a potential treatment for cystic fibrosis from Concert Pharmaceuticals, also in the US, for $160 million.
Americas
14 December 2017   US-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics have revealed plans to jointly develop and commercialise an investigational gene-editing treatment.