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A firm foundation for Agios
May 2013
by Lloyd Dunlap  |  Email the author


CAMBRIDGE, Mass.Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Foundation Medicine Inc. will work together in a multiyear diagnostic partnership for Agios' lead programs in cancer metabolism. These programs focus on developing new cancer metabolism inhibitors targeting tumors carrying mutations in the isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 and 2 (IDH1 and IDH2) metabolic enzymes.

Agios is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel drugs in the fields of cancer metabolism and rare metabolic genetic diseases. In addition to an active research and discovery pipeline across both therapeutic areas, Agios has multiple programs in cancer metabolism and inborn errors of metabolism advancing toward the clinic. All Agios programs focus on genetically identified patient populations to leverage their knowledge of metabolism, biology and genomics.
Foundation Medicine is a molecular information company dedicated to a transformation in cancer care in which treatment is informed by a deep understanding of the genomic changes that contribute to each patient's unique cancer. The company's initial clinical assay, FoundationOne, is "a fully informative genomic profile to identify a patient's individual molecular alterations and match them with relevant targeted therapies and clinical trials. Foundation Medicine's molecular information platform aims to improve day-to-day care for patients by serving the needs of clinicians, academic researchers and drug developers to help advance the science of molecular medicine in cancer," the company stated in the announcement of its partnership with Agios.  
The two organizations will work toward identifying tumor genomic alterations indicating which patients are most likely to respond to Agios' IDH1 and IDH2 drug candidates, and develop and potentially commercialize diagnostic products for these programs. 
"Our lead IDH1 and IDH2 programs demonstrate Agios' ability to leverage deep understanding of cancer metabolism to design first-in-class cancer medicines for genetically defined patient populations," says Dr. David Schenkein, CEO of Agios. Schenkein is also a member of the board of directors of Foundation Medicine.
"As we prepare to enter the clinic, Foundation Medicine provides us with the most advanced genomic profiling and analytical expertise in the industry," he says. "This collaboration will further expand our insights on how best to target IDH mutations therapeutically and will help us in our mission to bring important new drugs to patients with cancer."

The same day Agios announced its partnership with Foundation Medicine, the company released details on the research results published in Science by Agios scientists and their colleagues demonstrating the effects of the company's small-molecule IDH1 and IDH2 mutant-specific inhibitors in primary human tumor models, which add to a growing body of scientific research demonstrating the significant promise of targeting mutant IDH1 and IDH2 enzymes as novel approaches to treating cancer, the company states.  
"These papers represent the first publications to show the effects of inhibiting mutant IDH1 and IDH2 enzymes in patient-derived tumor samples," says Schenkein. "While IDH mutations are genetically validated cancer targets, these findings provide further preclinical support that these mutations are driving disease, and appropriately targeted therapeutics can reverse the effects. Our IDH programs continue to produce promising results, and we are excited to advance toward clinical studies that will bring a potentially transformative treatment option to patients."

Agios is forging a new and different path to cancer treatment by targeting cancer metabolism, says Dr. Michael J. Pellini, CEO of Foundation Medicine.

"Foundation Medicine's comprehensive cancer genomic profile helps match a patient's individual molecular alterations with relevant targeted therapies," Pellini says. "For this reason, it is important for us to partner with innovative biopharmaceutical companies like Agios to help expand the number of targeted therapies available and open new treatment options for patients."
Code: E051314



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