Thomas L. Wegman, the top executive at BioSpecifics Technologies Corp., has died, the Lynbrook biopharmaceutical company announced Monday.
The company, now with five employees, said in a separate government filing Monday that it would be late in releasing its annual report following the death of Wegman, who served as its principal executive and principal financial and accounting officer.
The announcement of the death of the company president and board member at age 64 came eight months after Wegman's July 2018 disclosure that he was undergoing experimental treatment for glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer of the brain or spinal cord.
The company said Wegman, who was named president of the company in 2005, died at his Merrick home Wednesday.
"He definitely was a great leader," controller James Goris said in a telephone interview.
"The entire BioSpecifics family mourns this loss," Michael Schamroth, a company board member, said in a statement.
"BioSpecifics will continue to be actively managed by its current employees and board of directors," the company said. "Succession planning is under way, and new management positions will be announced."
Shares of BioSpecifics rose 0.2 percent Tuesday afternoon to $66.84.
BioSpecifics 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.
Wegman, the son of company founder Edwin H. Wegman, used the title "president" instead of chief executive, which is typically used by the top executive of public companies.
In an interview in July, Wegman said he was "optimistic" about the experimental treatments.
Goris said Wegman continued actively overseeing the company until January, when some of his duties were taken over by Ron Law, who was hired as senior vice president of business development in November.
Glioblastoma is the same cancer that took the life of Arizona Sen. John McCain in August.
Thomas Wegman owned about 4 percent of the company's stock directly. He also was a co-trustee of a family trust controlling about 13 percent. In the July interview he said the stock was trading at less than $1 when he was named BioSpecifics' president.
BioSpecifics makes most of its money through royalty and licensing agreements with a unit of Endo International PLC, a pharmaceutical company in Dublin.
BioSpecifics is Long Island's 41st largest publicly traded company based on 2017 revenue of $27.4 million.