Hugo Sigman was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1944. He completed his primary and secondary schooling in public schools. In 1969, he earned his Medical Doctor degree from Universidad de Buenos Aires, and in the same year, he graduated from the Social Psychology School led by Dr. Pichon Riviére.
In 1970, he joined as Resident the Psychiatry Service of Policlínico Lanús, directed by Professor Mauricio Goldenberg. He continued his career, first as Chief of Residents, and then as founder and director of the Psychiatric Emergency Unit at the same hospital. In 1976, he moved to Spain, where he worked at the Psychiatry Service of Hospital Clínico de Barcelona.
At that time, encouraged by his father-in-law Roberto Gold, Hugo Sigman started his entrepreneurial career and got involved in the pharmaceutical industry. In 1978, with his wife, Silvia Gold –his partner in love and work for 45 years-, he founded Chemo, a chemical-pharmaceutical company, and the first company of Grupo Insud. Their goal was to create a company to produce high-quality medicines at affordable prices. In the 1980s, Hugo and Silvia returned to Argentina to continue the path they had started in Europe.
At present, Grupo Insud comprises three companies in the life sciences industry: Chemo, a company that sells active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and finished dosage forms (FDFs) to 1,200 pharmaceutical companies around the world, has 15 manufacturing sites and 9 R&D centers; Exeltis, a company that sells branded products in more than 40 countries, and mAbxience, a biotech company created in 2008, with 3 manufacturing sites, the first monoclonal antibody plant in Latin America –pharmADN- and the first vaccine and biotech production plant in Argentina, Sinergium Biotech.
Chemo signed an agreement with the World Health Organization and Utrecht University to produce the Palivizumab monoclonal antibody and facilitate access to this medicine for premature children, as it is estimated that 250,000 premature children die every year around the world without treatment due to its high cost.
Jointly with renowned Argentine companies, in 2011 Hugo Sigman founded the Argentine Chamber of Biotechnology, Cámara Argentina de Biotecnología, which he currently chairs. The goal of CAB is to strengthen the public-private collaboration policy in biotechnology and encourage its development in the region. In Argentina’s veterinary industry, he is a partner of Biogénesis Bagó, which runs a world-class facility for foot-and-mouth disease vaccine production, the only one that has been authorized by the government of China to build a plant in that country.
For 20 years, Hugo and Silvia have led the Public-Private Consortium for Research and Development of Innovative Oncology Therapies, which developed the first therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer, Racotumomab (Vaxira), introduced in 2013, and which currently has five new products in research.
In this framework, Hugo Sigman strongly supports public-private partnerships, which he views as a positive paradigm to be promoted with ethics and transparency. He understands that public research centers should give back to society by contributing their knowledge and developments, and the private sector should recognize that contribution by compensating them accordingly. Inspired in that model, he has built partnerships with prestigious institutions including Universidad de Buenos Aires, Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Roffo and Garrahan Hospitals, Academia Nacional de Medicina, and several foreign universities.
Approximately 250 researchers work at the partnerships supported by the Group, doing basic and applied research; 100 of them are dedicated to the development of products for treating cancer.
His entrepreneurial spirit and interest in biology have led Hugo Sigman beyond the frontiers of the pharmaceutical industry. In 1998, he started agricultural and forestry activities in different locations of Argentina, focused on genetic improvement and sustainable production, with companies Garruchos, devoted to farming and cattle-raising; Pomera, ranked as the top Argentine-capital forestry company; and Cabaña Los Murmullos, a leading cattle breeding ranch. Sigman is also a shareholder of Bioceres, an Argentine biotechnology company focused on agricultural production. This young company developed a gene that enables the production of wheat, corn and soybean resistant to draughts and soil salinity, and has licensed its products to the USA, France and India.
Hugo Sigman encourages the exchange of ideas through publishing company Capital intellectual, which includes a line of publications in Spain under the publishing brand Clave Intellectual, the Southern Cone edition of Le Monde Diplomatique, and the Latin American version of prestigious The New York Review of Books. In 2005, Hugo Sigman partnered with Oscar Kramer and established filmmaking company Kramer&Sigman Films (K&S), which has grown to be a thriving production company, with several box-office successes, including Kamchatka, El perro, The Last Elvis, Seventh Floor, Wild Tales.
Produced by Hugo Sigman for Kramer& Sigman Films and by El Deseo (Pedro Almodóvar and Agustín Almodóvar ’s production company), Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes) was directed by Damián Szifron, starring Ricardo Darín, Julieta Zylberberg, Rita Cortese; Darío Grandinetti; Érica Rivas; Oscar Martínez and Leonardo Sbaraglia. Co-produced by Telefé and Corner, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, Wild Tales exceeded 1 million tickets sold in its first ten days of screening.
An art and culture enthusiast, between 2010 and 2013, Hugo Sigman was a member of the Advisory Council of the [[National Fine Arts Museum of Argentina]], and is currently a member of the Board of Patronage of Museo Reina Sofía, in Madrid, Spain. Additionally, the venue of Grupo INSUD in Buenos Aires (the traditional Díaz Vélez Palace), built in 1907 and recently restored, has won several architectural awards and has been declared a protected heritage site of Buenos Aires City.
Hugo and Silvia have always had a strong commitment to give back to society. This social responsibility is infused in their work with the Mundo Sano Foundation. in Argentina, Spain and Ethiopia, with the vision to transform the reality of populations affected by neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) including Chagas, dengue and soil-transmitted helminths.
In 2015, Hugo Sigman received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, from EY consulting firm (Ernst & Young) in Argentina.
In 2013, the Endeavor Foundation named him the "Model Entrepreneur" for his values and track record. In 2008, he received the merit diploma at the Konex Awards, in the "Innovative Entrepreneurs" category. In 2011, jointly with Silvia Gold, he received an award from Asociación de Dirigentes de Empresa (ADE) in the "Agroindustry" category.
Sigman presented the achievements of the Research, Development and Innovation Consortium at Experience Endeavor in August 2013, and at the 11th International Symposium on AIDS, organized by Fundación Huésped, in 2012.
In April 2012, he was a speaker at the Global Investment Forum, organized by the United Nations in Qatar. He presented the state-of-the-art productive investment model based on partnerships with other pharmaceutical companies and public entities.
In September 2011, Sigman was guest speaker at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development held in Geneva, Switzerland. His lecture was about the manufacturing of vaccines and biotechnologicals in Argentina. The Sinergium Biotech model of integration for the production of vaccines and biotech products involves technology transfer, export potential and the creation of 320 jobs, said Sigman. Also in 2011, Sigman delivered a presentation on global entrepreneurship at the 47th IDEA Colloquium.
In 2009, Sigman took part in the 15th Conference of the Argentine Industrial Union, and was guest speaker representing Argentina at Harvard and Columbia Universities.