Why Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc. Shares Popped

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Agios Pharmaceuticals  (NASDAQ: AGIO  ) are up nearly 10% today after the company before the opening bell announced the hiring of a well-regarded new chief medical officer.

So what: Agios brought Dr. Chris Bowden on board to oversee the company's clinical development and regulatory initiatives. Bowden has nearly two decades of experience in clinical drug development, most notably as vice president of oncology product development for Roche's Genentech subsidiary. His team developed several notable cancer treatments at Genentech, including Zelboraf, Tarceva, and Erivedge, according to Agios' press release.

Now what: Genentech's cancer treatments are among the world's best-sellers, and Bowden's developments have been among his former employer's most promising new drugs -- Zelboraf was named the Best New Drug of 2012 at the year's Scrip Awards. In 2008, the last year for which Genentech provides drug revenue breakdowns, Tarceva generated over $450 million in revenue. 

If Bowden can develop even one drug on the same scale as his previous successes with Genentech, it stands to reason that Agios could find far more sales than it has today. However, this pop is still nothing more than a bet on future discoveries, and Bowden still has a long road ahead of him at Agios before he can replicate his Genentech successes.

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