Magazine Article | August 2, 2021

What The Sale Of Agios' Oncology Pipeline Taught Me

Source: Life Science Leader

By Jackie Fouse, Ph.D.

When I joined the board of Agios in late 2017, if someone would have told me then that in less than four years the company would transition away from its work in oncology, I would not have believed it. For almost a decade, we had been true to our convictions regarding the potential of our research in cellular metabolism to make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients, particularly cancer patients. In 2017, the FDA had just approved our partnered medicine IDHIFA (enasidenib), the first oral targeted therapy for adults with relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia with an IDH2 mutation, and our first wholly owned AML therapy, TIBSOVO (ivosidenib), for patients with an IDH1 mutation, was following close behind. We also had several other promising oncology assets in our broad research and clinical pipelines. On the surface, we had all of the makings of a cancer-fighting company. But at its genesis, Agios was never intended to solely focus on cancer — our focus was to rewrite the textbooks for serious diseases based on our fundamental understanding of cellular metabolism. Though we had been successful in bringing IDH inhibitors to cancer patients, our other programs focused on nononcological rare genetic diseases were advancing rapidly.

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