Drs Chi Dang, Joshua Rabinowitz, Clary Clish, Matthew Vander Heiden and James Bradner Bring Deep Biology and Metabolomic Experience from Leading Laboratories
Cambridge, MA – November 24, 2008 – Agios Pharmaceuticals, the first biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel
drugs in the rapidly emerging field of cancer metabolism, announced today the appointments of several leading scientific advisors:
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. The new understanding of a fundamental mechanism of cancer growth and survival represents a powerful Achilles’ heel to target this deadly disease.
"Our objective at Agios is to build a transformative company based on the rapidly evolving science. Key to this mission is working with the best minds to understand the convergence of cancer and metabolism across tumor types and a variety of metabolic conditions to effectively select and target the key metabolic addiction points of cancer cells.” said Kevin Starr, interim Chief Executive Officer, Agios Pharmaceuticals and Partner, Third Rock Ventures. “Drs. Dang, Vander Heiden and Bradner provide Agios substantial additional biological depth in key pathways, while Drs. Rabinowitz and Clish are focused on helping us build the world leading cell metabolism platform.”
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.
The new scientific advisors join the inaugural members of the Company’s Scientific Advisory Board, which features some of the most renowned scientific experts within the fields of oncology and metabolism including: Paul S. Anderson, Ph.D., retired executive of Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck ; Ronald A. DePinho, M.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School; Pier Paolo Pandolfi, M.D., Ph.D., Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Homer L. Pearce, Ph.D., retired executive of Eli Lilly & Company; David M. Sabatini, M.D., Ph.D., Whitehead Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Bruce M. Spiegelman, Ph.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School; and the Company’s founders, Cantley, Mak and Thompson.
Background on New Scientific Advisors
Chi Van Dang, M.D., Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins Family Professor in Oncology Research; Vice Dean for Research of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Dr. Dang’s laboratory has contributed to the understanding of the function of the c-Myc oncoprotein, which has emerged as a central oncogenic switch in many different cancers. His laboratory is focused on how oncogenic alterations in cancers leading to altered tumor metabolism.
Dr. Dang earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Georgetown University and his M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Joshua D. Rabinowitz, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University
Dr. Rabinowitz’s laboratory is a recognized leader in the comprehensive analysis of cellular metabolism through mass spectrometry. He brings expertise in applying metabolomic technology to identify drug targets and probe mechanisms of drug action.
Dr. Rabinowitz earned two B.A. degrees, in Mathematics and Chemistry, from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his Ph.D. in Biophysics and his M.D. from Stanford University.
Clary B. Clish, Ph.D.
Director, Metabolite Profiling, Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University
Dr. Clish is recognized as one of the leading experts in the field of metabolite profiling using tandem mass spectrometry. Prior to joining the Broad Institute, he led target discovery and metabolite biochemistry at Ore Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Beyond Genomics Inc., respectively.
Dr. Clish received his Ph.D. from Portland State University and his B.Sc. in Chemistry and Biological Sciences from McGill University.
Matthew Vander Heiden, M.D., Ph.D.
Instructor of Medicine, Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School
Dr. Vander Heiden is recognized as one of the leading experts in the field of cancer metabolism. As a clinical fellow in the laboratory of Lewis Cantley, Ph.D. at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dr. Vander Heiden participated in the identification of pyruvate kinase M2 regulating glucose metabolism in proliferating cells, as published in the journal Nature.
Dr. Vander Heiden received his B.S. in Biological Chemistry, M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
James Bradner, M.D.
Staff Physician, Dana Farber Cancer Institute; Physician-Scientist, Chemical Biology Group, Broad Institute; Associate Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Instructor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Bradner currently leads a chemical biology group at the Broad Institute investigating cellular function of histone deacetylases and the role of autophagy in hematologic malignancies. His group applies forward and reverse chemical genetic platforms, high-content screening and small-molecule microarrays for ligands modulating autophagy.
Dr. Bradner received his A.B. in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University, his M.D. from the University of Chicago and his M.M.S. from Harvard Medical School.
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 www.agios.com.
Yates Public Relations