Agios Creates Expanded Scientific Advisory Role for Lewis Cantley, Ph.D.
Cambridge, MA – July 29, 2010 – Agios Pharmaceuticals, the leading biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel drugs in the rapidly emerging field of cancer metabolism, today announced that Dr. Lewis Cantley, Ph.D., a member of the Agios Board and Scientific Advisory Board is assuming a new and significant scientific role at Agios as Distinguished Scientific Advisor to the company. Dr. Cantley is Director of the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. He is also a scientific co-founder of Agios.
As Distinguished Scientific Advisor to Agios, Dr. Cantley will help shape the overall scientific direction of the company in consultation with Agios R&D leadership, and will also serve as a scientific mentor for Agios staff. Dr. Cantley will continue in his roles on the Agios Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board. He will spend one day per week at Agios working directly with the R&D project teams and management to provide input on scientific strategy and critical R&D decisions.
“Agios prides itself on being deeply connected with a network of academic scientists at the cutting edge of cancer metabolism research. Lew will help drive the science at Agios forward, fusing academic excellence with an innovative startup culture,” said David Schenkein, M.D., Chief Executive Officer, Agios. “Lew’s pioneering leadership in the fields of cancer metabolism and tumor signaling will help us expand and advance our industry-leading portfolio of cancer metabolism programs.”
Dr. Cantley is a world leader in understanding the biochemical pathways linking cancer and energy metabolism. He is credited with discovering the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway, characterizing the mechanism by which PI3K is activated by growth factors and oncogenes, and elucidating pathways downstream of PI3K, including the AKT/PKB signaling pathway. He also pioneered the application of fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) for studying small molecule cell membrane transport. In the field of cancer metabolism, Dr. Cantley discovered pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) as a “hub” to integrate growth factor signaling and aerobic glycolysis, a new evolution in the understanding of the Warburg effect. Agios is currently working on a discovery program targeting PKM2.
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.
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