Agios Appoints Scott Biller, Ph.D., Industry Leader and Drug Developer, as Chief Scientific Officer
Cambridge, Mass. – September 20, 2010 – Agios Pharmaceuticals, the leading biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel drugs in the rapidly emerging field of cancer metabolism, today announced the appointment of Scott Biller, Ph.D., as Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Biller joins Agios from Novartis Pharmaceuticals, where he was Vice President and Head of Global Discovery Chemistry at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR).
“Scott is a world-class drug hunter who will help us achieve our vision of discovering and developing transformative medicines that target dysregulated metabolic enzymes,” said David Schenkein, M.D., Chief Executive Officer, Agios. “Scott’s breadth of experience and record of leadership in the industry makes him the ideal candidate to shape and lead our research initiatives, and I’m tremendously excited to welcome him to Agios.”
“Agios has established the leading effort in cancer metabolism, driven by a unique culture of scientific leadership and technological innovation,” said Dr. Biller. “I am convinced that we can make dramatic improvements in patient outcomes by mapping and targeting the metabolism of cancer cells. I look forward to working with the exceptional team of scientists at Agios and with the broad network of academic leaders that are collaborating with Agios on this important work.”
Dr. Biller has more than 25 years of drug discovery and development experience. While at Novartis, he was responsible for the world-wide discovery chemistry functions at NIBR, including medicinal, combinatorial and computational chemistry, as well as the research metabolism and pharmacokinetics group. He joined NIBR in 2003 and played a key role in building the new research organization in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as reinventing the Novartis culture of innovation globally.
Prior to Novartis, Dr. Biller held the positions of Vice President, Pharmaceutical Candidate Optimization at the Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) Pharmaceutical Research Institute, and Executive Director of Drug Discovery Chemistry for the BMS research site in Lawrenceville, NJ, where he was responsible for overseeing the research efforts for oncology, immunology, inflammation and pulmonary diseases. Among his other key leadership positions at BMS, Dr. Biller was the Executive Director of Metabolic Diseases Chemistry, with responsibility for discovery programs in hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and endocrine dysfunctions of the aging population. Under his leadership, his team delivered numerous clinical candidates, including the marketed DPP4 inhibitor Onglyza (saxigliptin) for Type 2 diabetes, and two molecules currently in Phase III trials (the SGLT2 inhibitor dapagliflozin for Type 2 diabetes and the MTP inhibitor lomitapide for hyperlipidemia). He has co-authored over 90 papers and patents, and has been invited to deliver scientific lectures around the world.
About Cancer Metabolism
Cancer metabolism is a new and exciting field of biology that provides a novel approach to treating cancer. Cancer cell metabolism is marked by profound changes in nutrient requirements and usage to ensure cell proliferation and survival. Research in the field has demonstrated that cancer cells become addicted to certain fuel sources and metabolic pathways. In cancer, this metabolic reprogramming is coordinated with proliferative signaling and regulated by the same oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes to ensure efficient proliferation. Glycolysis (sugar metabolism), fatty acid metabolism and autophagy (self metabolism) are three pathways shown to play a critical role in cancer metabolism. Identifying and disrupting certain enzymes in these, and perhaps other, metabolic pathways provides a powerful intervention point for discovery and development of cancer therapeutics.
About Agios Pharmaceuticals
Agios Pharmaceuticals is the first biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel therapeutics in the emerging field of cancer metabolism. To support and drive these efforts, Agios is building a robust platform integrating cancer biology, metabolomics, biochemistry and informatics to enable target and biomarker identification. Agios’ capabilities to interrogate differential cellular metabolism of diseased cells relative to normal cells may also be applicable to other therapeutics areas including autoimmune, inflammatory and neurological diseases. To date, Agios has put in place a world-class scientific team of more than 60 people, built a fully integrated cell metabolism platform within the largest research laboratory dedicated to cancer metabolism, and created an emerging product development pipeline of novel cancer therapeutics. The company’s founders represent the core thought leaders in the field of cancer metabolism, responsible for key advances, insights and discoveries in the field. Agios Pharmaceuticals is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.agios.com.