In this section of our website, we are committed to bringing Hemera closer to the public through interviews with each member of our dream team. The goal is to share the thoughts, passions, and objectives of those working tirelessly behind the scenes at Hemera.

Today, we start with an exclusive interview with Professor Fumagalli, President and Medical Director of Hemera for many years, dedicated to patients and spinal cord injury associations in the pursuit of a cure for spinal cord injuries.

What are the key milestones in Hemera’s history, and what has been the most significant moment so far?

Hemera’s journey officially began in 2021 when the company was established. However, the most significant moments precede that date and can be summarized in two:

  • The production of evidence that the idea developed by the scientific groups in Verona and Milan was not just a working hypothesis but a biological reality with therapeutic potential.
  • The decision to patent the idea as a crucial step in bringing the discovery to the patient’s bedside.

What role do universities and scientific institutions play in the development of advanced cell therapies like REMaST by university spin-offs?

Hemera would not have come into existence, and the REMaST therapy would not have had the chance to be formulated without the fundamental contribution of the Universities of Verona and Milan. Biotechnological research doesn’t happen in home garages, as the founding stories of Silicon Valley tech giants might suggest. Current biomedical research relies heavily on technologies and tools with costs inaccessible to individuals. Without universities or similar research centers, there can be no innovation in the biomedical field. The spin-off is not just a concept; it is the real mechanism through which the scientific community can transfer the results of fundamental and innovative research to the social community.

How do you envision the future of Hemera’s therapy and its potential global impact?

Based on preclinical data, there is a high probability that REMaST therapy could significantly improve the lives of spinal cord injury patients, both in terms of movement and quality of life. The impact will undoubtedly be even more significant when we have produced preclinical data on chronic injuries. If positive, these data open up the possibility of improvement for patients living with their condition for years. The uniqueness of the REMaST therapy also opens up applications in other neurological conditions (e.g., stroke) and other organs where the main issue is the organ’s limited ability to regenerate and create healthy tissue.

What is your message for patients who may benefit from Hemera’s therapy?

Hemera is born out of the push and support for basic research provided by spinal cord injury patient organizations. At the establishment of Hemera, a portion of the company was entrusted to one of the groups representing patients. Hemera works and strives precisely because we want scientific research to translate into benefits for them. We ask patients to always be close and to convey this closeness in the form of testimonies about the importance of science for progress and disease fighting, and citizens’ trust in scientific innovation.

What are the biggest challenges that Hemera still needs to face?

There are numerous challenges along Hemera’s path. The main ones arise because it is an innovative therapy even in form. REMaST is not pills or antibodies; REMaST is cells! Cell therapy is in its infancy, and thus, it is uncharted territory even for health regulatory bodies that must authorize the administration of a therapy to patients. The procedures and data required for this authorization represent unexplored terrain and, therefore, potentially fraught with problems. The future of Hemera hinges on this interaction between Hemera and health regulatory bodies. The initial steps of this relationship have been exceedingly encouraging: the European Medicines Agency has granted REMaST Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) and Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP) titles, indicating the high regard this crucial European body has for Hemera and REMaST.