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.