September 4, 2018 / 10:36 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Agios names former Celgene executive Jacqualyn Fouse as next CEO

(Adds comment from Agios chairman)

Sept 4 (Reuters) - Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc on Tuesday said former Celgene Corp executive Jacqualyn Fouse would be its next chief executive officer, replacing longtime CEO David Schenkein.

Fouse, who rose through the ranks at Celgene to become president and chief operating officer before leaving the biotech company last year, is already a member of the Agios board. She will assume her new role on Feb. 1, 2019, the company said.

Schenkein, who took over as Agios CEO in 2009, will transition to the role of executive chairman and serve on the board's Science & Technology Committee, the biotech said.

Schenkein led Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Agios from a research company to a $4.68 billion drugmaker with two approved cancer medicines.

Fouse is highly regarded by Wall Street and her name has been bandied about with each high profile executive opening in the biotech industry since her June 2017 "retirement" from Celgene. She also previously served as chief financial officer of food company Bunge Limited.

"Throughout her career, Jackie has demonstrated the ability to effectively plan for and successfully execute on clinical and commercialization strategies, which will be essential as the company works to further its transition to a sustainable multi-product company," Agios chairman John Maraganore said in a statement.

Fouse said she intends to focus on existing drug candidates in development, as well as strategies for expansion in markets outside the United States, she told Reuters in an interview.

Fouse, who had been chief financial officer and led the global hematology and oncology franchise at Celgene before becoming president and COO, joined the Agios board last December. Agios has an oncology development deal with Celgene.

Agios in July received U.S. approval for Tibsovo to treat acute myeloid leukemia in patients with a specific genetic mutation. It is the company's first wholly owned drug. Its first approved leukemia treatment, Idhifa, was partnered with Celgene.

Agios shares have risen about 40 percent since the start of the year. (Reporting by Manas Mishra, Tamara Mathias and Aakash B in Bengaluru; editing by Bill Berkrot)

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