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Agios Pharmaceuticals said Monday that it is selling its cancer business to the French drug maker Servier — a decision that will narrow the biotech’s focus to developing medicines for inherited diseases and enable a shareholder-friendly stock repurchase program.

Servier is paying $1.8 billion in cash for Agios’ entire cancer portfolio, consisting of two approved blood cancer treatments, three experimental drugs in clinical trials, and all associated Agios employees. Agios is also eligible for another $200 million in cash and royalties on future drug sales, if certain conditions are later met.


Once the deal closes in the second quarter of next year, the slimmed-down but cash-richer Agios will pivot to developing drugs that boost cellular metabolism to treat genetically defined, or inherited, diseases. Its lead medicine, called mitapivat, works by activating an enzyme called pyruvate kinase-R, which is used by red blood cells to convert sugars into energy.

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