Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D., President of The Rockefeller University, Joins Agios Board of Directors
Former Genentech Chief Scientific Officer Deepens Board’s Scientific Expertise and Therapeutic Knowledge
Cambridge, Mass. – September 20, 2011 – 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 Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D., to its board of directors. Dr. Tessier-Lavigne is president of The Rockefeller University and formerly served as executive vice president for research and chief scientific officer at Genentech, where he directed 1,400 people in disease research and drug discovery in cancer, immune disorders, infectious diseases and neurodegenerative diseases.
“We are so pleased to welcome Dr. Tessier-Lavigne, a world-renowned scientist and member of the National Academy of Sciences, to Agios’ board of directors,” said David Schenkein, M.D., chief executive officer of Agios. “His participation at the leadership level of the company underscores our commitment to cutting-edge scientific research, as well as the breadth of our scientific research capabilities and the novelty of our discovery engine. Dr. Tessier-Lavigne’s deep experience in drug development will be particularly valuable as we approach the next stage in our evolution, beginning to leverage our pioneering research to create a portfolio of first-in-class anticancer drugs.”
“Agios has identified and published a number of outstanding scientific findings in the short time since it was founded and has already made considerable progress in translating these discoveries into novel cancer metabolism therapeutics,” said Dr. Tessier-Lavigne. “I am delighted to be able to contribute my expertise as the company moves these programs forward and to work with the impressive team Agios has built.“
Dr. Tessier-Lavigne became president of The Rockefeller University earlier this year, where he also serves as a professor and head of the laboratory of brain development and repair. Prior to his tenure at Genentech, he was an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a professor at Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Tessier-Lavigne is a pioneer in brain research, uncovering insights that have potential applicability across a range of neurological diseases, and has a reputation as an exceptional leader in the biotechnology industry. He earned undergraduate degrees from McGill University and from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He received his Ph.D. from University College London, and conducted postdoctoral work at the MRC Developmental Neurobiology Unit in London and at Columbia University. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the Royal Society (UK), the Royal Society of Canada, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK).
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 has built 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. 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.