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12:00 AM
 | 
Apr 19, 2010
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Metabolic drive

Agios to focus on securing lead in cancer metabolomics with $130M from Celgene

Young, early-stage companies working in a significant piece of biological space have two basic partnering choices: sell salami slices for relatively small amounts of money or fill the coffers by selling a big chunk.

Most companies don't have the luxury of choice, but when they do, another trade off must be made: retain rights longer, but spend more time on the road pitching investors and potential partners, or do a big deal early that allows management to focus on company-building.

Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc., which is working in the hot area of cancer metabolism, had the choice and took the latter route in a deal with Celgene Corp. last week that included a $130 million upfront payment for an exclusive option to preclinical assets. The money, according to CEO David Schenkein, will enable Agios to beef up its research and ensure that it can target the whole metabolome and secure scientific leadership in the nascent field.

In the past two years, scientists associated...

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