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Agios Pharmaceuticals' Focus of Drug Research - Cancer Metabolism - Selected for Stand Up To Cancer Grant

-Agios Developing Novel Drug Pipeline Based on Cancer Metabolism-

Cambridge, MA – May 28, 2009 – Agios Pharmaceuticals today announced that Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a charitable initiative for new cancer treatments, has selected the Cancer Metabolism “dream team” led by Agios founder Dr. Craig Thompson and including Agios advisors Drs. Chi Dang and Joshua Rabinowitz. Cancer Metabolism is one of only five research areas chosen to share in $73.6 million in translational research funding, based on a rigorous selection process by independent scientific advisors assembled by SU2C’s scientific partner, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Cancer metabolism is a new and exciting field of biology that represents a breakthrough understanding of how cancer cells become addicted to using more nutrients than normal cells to ensure their survival and growth. This new understanding of a fundamental mechanism of cancer represents a powerful Achilles’ heel to target this deadly disease.

With the help of Craig Thompson, MD, Chi Dang, MD, and other key advisors including Lewis Cantley, PhD, and Tak Mak, PhD, Agios was founded a year ago to lead the translation of cancer metabolism biology and decades of metabolic biochemistry into novel cancer therapeutics that will make a difference for patients. In its first year of operation, Agios has taken a leadership position in the field of Cancer Metabolism with more than 40 employees and a rapidly emerging drug pipeline. Yesterday, Agios announced the appointment of its new leadership team to further lead and grow the vision of Agios. David Schenkein, MD, of Genentech will assume his role as Chief Executive Officer in August and Duncan Higgons, formerly of Archemix, became the Chief Operating Officer in May.

"It is great to see Stand Up To Cancer and AACR recognize and further validate the therapeutic potential of Cancer Metabolism which has been the driving vision behind building Agios over the past year,” said David Schenkein, incoming Chief Executive Officer of Agios Pharmaceuticals. “The progress to date of Agios has been impressive, bringing together great people, a passionate culture, deep science and an emerging pipeline of novel drugs that is leading the field rapidly downstream towards the clinic.”

Stand Up To Cancer worked in collaboration with the  American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) to identify and fund “dream teams” in areas of cancer research that provide the most promising near term potential breakthrough therapies for patients. Cancer Metabolism was selected as one of the five research areas to receive SU2C research grants, based on the recommendation of a scientific advisory committee assembled by AACR.

The Cancer Metabolism dream team includes four elite scientists, three of whom are key Agios founders and advisors:

  • Co-Leader – Agios Co-Founder Craig B. Thompson, M.D., Director, Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Principal Reseacher – Agios Advisor Chi Van Dang, M.D., Ph.D., Vice Dean for Research of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
  • Principal Researcher – Agios Advisor Joshua D. Rabinowitz, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Integrated Genomics, Princeton University.

About Agios Pharmaceuticals
Agios Pharmaceuticals is the first biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of novel therapeutics in the emerging field of cancer metabolism, which represents a breakthrough understanding of how cancer cells adapt to use more nutrients than normal cells to promote their survival and growth. Agios’ primary focus is in oncology, but the company’s platform will 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

Agios was founded by three of the foremost authorities and leaders within the field of cancer metabolism: Lewis C. Cantley, Ph.D., Director of the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Professor of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School; Tak W. Mak, Ph.D., Director of The Campbell Family Institute for Cancer Research and Professor of The University of Toronto; and Craig B. Thompson, M.D., Director, Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania.

Media Contact:
Kathryn Morris
Yates Public Relations