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Agios Pharmaceuticals Highlights Extensive Cancer Metabolism Research at AACR

- Agios Founders, Tak Mak and Craig Thompson, Deliver Key Presentations -

Cambridge, MA – April, 30, 2009 – Agios Pharmaceuticals, the first biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel cancer metabolism drugs, highlights the breadth and depth of research in the field of cancer metabolism presented at the 100th American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting in Denver, Colorado last week.

Agios founders Tak Mak and Craig Thompson, as recognized leaders in the field, were featured in multiple cancer metabolism presentations and symposia at AACR in addition to the large volume of cancer metabolism scientific data presentations.  Key highlights include:

  • More than 50 abstracts/posters specifically in the field of Cancer Metabolism
  • Symposium: “Cancer Metabolism: Back to the Future,” chaired By Tak Mak
  • Symposium: “Targeting the Hypoxia Response in Tumors: Metabolic Implications”
  • Mini-symposium: “Autophagy and Cancer”

Abstracts from the AACR Annual Meeting may be found at

“This year at AACR, even more than last year, the scientific engagement around cancer metabolism was truly extraordinary,” said Dr. Tak W. Mak, Ph.D., Agios Co-Founder and Director of The Campbell Family Institute for Cancer Research and Professor of The University of Toronto. “It is clear to me that the scientific advances within the field of cancer metabolism have captured a significant mindshare of the community and the time is now for aggressive translational science to help bring transformative drugs to patients.”

"As the first company founded to pursue cancer metabolism, we have a unique opportunity to lever and translate the scientific progress into meaningful advances in drug development,” said Kevin Starr, interim Chief Executive Officer, Agios Pharmaceuticals and Partner, Third Rock Ventures. “Since our founding only a year ago, the company has more than 40 scientists focused on advancing our pipeline programs towards the clinic and we have established a cell metabolism platform that is continuously informing our biological understanding of how to best select and target key metabolic enzymes in the cancer.”

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.

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 metabolomics, genetics, biochemistry and microscopy to enable biomarker and target identification.  Agios’ platform of differential cellular metabolism of diseased cells relative to normal cells 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

Media Contact:
Adriana Jenkins
Yates Public Relations