Company will add 19,700 sq. ft. of space to its Cambridge campus and hire 50% more staff.

While most seem to be downsizing, Acceleron Pharma reports that it will expand its workforce and build new offices and facilities this year. The company signed a lease in Cambridge, MA, further expanding its research laboratory and office space by 19,700 sq. ft. In conjunction with this, Acceleron will increase its workforce by more than 50% to support growth in R&D and manufacturing.

The announcement was made at the ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the recent completion of Acceleron’s second facility that houses its new corporate headquarters and its second GMP protein manufacturing facility. The new leased space will be the third property the company will occupy on the Cambridge campus, which has more than doubled in size since April 2008.

“Acceleron has grown by more than 50% in each year since it was founded in 2004, and we expect this rate of growth to continue throughout 2009,” comments John Knopf, Ph.D., CEO and founder of Acceleron.

Acceleron’s lead program, ACE-011, is currently in Phase II studies in multiple myeloma patients with osteolytic bone disease. ACE-011 has been shown to increase bone mineral density and red blood cells and is being jointly developed by Acceleron and Celgene.

Acceleron’s second program, ACE-031, which is currently in a Phase I study, is designed to increase skeletal muscle mass and strength and also decreases fat mass. ACE-031 has shown encouraging preclinical results in animal models of age-related muscle loss, neuromuscular disease, cancer treatment-related muscle loss, and metabolic diseases. The company plans to bring its third program, ACE-041, a novel, non-VEGF-based angiogenesis inhibitor that blocks the development of vasculature in tumors into the clinic by the end of 2009.

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