Cancer drug developer Agios secures $78m VC funding


Agios Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing cancer metabolism drugs, has secured $78m in Series C financing.

Several new, undisclosed investors, including three leading, large public investment funds, joined Agios’ strategic partner Celgene, a multinational biopharmaceutical company, and existing investors ARCH Venture Partners, Flagship Ventures and Third Rock Ventures in the round.

The proceeds will be used to advance the company’s portfolio of cancer metabolism therapeutics into the clinic and to expand research and development into inborn errors of metabolism (IEMs), a group of genetic disorders with high unmet medical need.

Over the last several years, Agios has built a novel discovery engine centred on cancer metabolism. The company’s capabilities integrate metabolomics, biology, genetics, biochemistry and bioinformatics techniques, allowing it to identify, prioritise and validate new metabolism targets and associated metabolic biomarkers, which will enable earlier clinical proof of concept and clinical development strategies that will enrich for patients most likely to respond to a specific metabolism treatment.

Robert Nelsen, a managing director at ARCH Venture Partners and one of Agios’ seed investors since 2008, said, “Agios has progressed rapidly since inception and is entering the next stage of fulfilling its vision of becoming a leading biotech company. The company’s clear leadership in cancer metabolism and expansion into orphan diseases provides a unique opportunity for leading long-term value and growth-oriented public investors to invest in a private company that we believe will continue to create significant value for many years to come.

“Agios is now well positioned to advance several first-in-class programs into clinical trials that have the potential to demonstrate early proof of concept in patients,” he added.

In September ARCH participated in a $20m Series B venture round for US cleantech company Siluria Technologies. The round was led by UK-based foundation the Wellcome Trust, which joined founding investors Alloy Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Lux Capital and Presidio Ventures.

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