Ver­tex gam­bles $950M on biotech buy­out, hunt­ing a cure for di­a­betes

Ver­tex Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals $VRTX is spend­ing close to a bil­lion dol­lars to take a care­ful­ly aimed shot at cur­ing Type 1 di­a­betes.

Doug Melton Har­vard

The big cap biotech is pay­ing $950 mil­lion in cash to bag Sem­ma Ther­a­peu­tics, a biotech com­pa­ny that sprung out of decades of work by Har­vard pro­fes­sor Doug Melton. Five years ago Melton pub­lished a land­mark study show­ing the po­ten­tial for us­ing stem cells to cre­ate in­sulin-pro­duc­ing pan­cre­at­ic be­ta cells that were in­sert­ed in bulk in­to mice and suc­cess­ful­ly pro­tect­ed from an im­mune re­sponse — a break­through in re­gen­er­a­tive med­i­cine. 

Sem­ma’s team has been do­ing the pre­clin­i­cal ground­work for the hu­man stud­ies to come. 

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