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Top executive at BioSpecifics Technologies says he has cancer

Thomas L. Wegman, president of BioSpecifics Technologies Corp.,

Thomas L. Wegman, president of BioSpecifics Technologies Corp., informed colleagues and investors that he is undergoing cancer treatment. Credit: Bio Specifics Technologies Corp.

The top executive of BioSpecifics Technologies Corp., a Lynbrook pharmaceuticals company, is undergoing "experimental treatment" for glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer found in the brain or spinal cord, he disclosed in a letter addressed to colleagues, partners and stockholders.

The letter from company president Thomas L. Wegman said he had completed "the initial stages" of a treatment plan.

"I'm feeling good and optimistic as I am now undergoing experimental therapy," he said. "During this time, I am able to continue to lead the day-to-day operations of the company."

In a telephone interview Thursday, Wegman declined to provide details on his experimental treatment because it could change.

"There are a lot of options out there now," he said. "Right now I can say I'm feeling very well...We're getting great responses from investors, and no one seems concerned."

Shares of BioSpecifics rose 6.1 percent to close Thursday at $47.49. The stock was trading at $50.47 12 months ago.

Wegman said he was named president of the company in 2005, when the stock was trading under $1.

Glioblastoma gained attention  last year when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) disclosed his diagnosis in July.

The letter from Wegman was included in a government filing issued July 3.

BioSpecifics does not have a chief executive officer but lists Wegman in a government filing as the company's "sole named executive officer," "principal executive officer" and "principal financial officer."

The website of the American Brain Tumor Association says glioblastomas "arise from astrocytes—the star-shaped cells that make up the 'glue-like,' or supportive tissue of the brain."  The tumors are "usually highly malignant because the cells reproduce quickly and they are supported by a large network of blood vessels," according to the website.

BioSpecifics is Long Island's 41st largest publicly traded company based on 2017 revenue of $27.4 million.

The company has developed injectable enzymes that break down collagen, a fibrous protein that can build up and cause conditions including Dupuytren's contracture, a hand deformity where fingers are frozen in a curved position.

BioSpecifics has a marketing and development deal related to the enzymes with Dublin-based Endo International PLC. The treatment is marketed by Endo under the name Xiaflex.

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