Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Treatment in Phase III Trials: Cyclacel (CYCC) CEO and CFO Buy Stock

May 23, 2013

There have been several highly successful biotech companies formed from the patent libraries of universities and from research institutes. Often these are private companies owned by the clinical researchers and the institutions that fund them, but occasionally these companies are registered in the public markets and are available for general investment.

Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals (CYCC) was formed in 1997 to exploit several biotech innovations developed at the University of Dundee. In an interview from September of last year in The Wall Street Transcript, Spiro Rombotis, President and CEO of Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals, stated that, “Our lead drug, sapacitabine, is now in a pivotal Phase III trial for acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, a disease of mostly elderly people… sapacitabine offers to patients with AML … the first drug in its class to be given by mouth. Everything else, whether approved or used in clinical trials in the U.S., is available only by intravenous injection. And for these older patients, who are typically frail and for whom travel is a challenge, the ability to receive a drug at home by the oral route is a big plus.”


Cyclacel has lofty aspirations: “Our goal at Cyclacel is to develop novel drugs taken by mouth with low toxicity that tweak the cell cycle and restore its control mechanisms enabling the body to weed out cancerous cells, and thus, extend survival. Sapacitabine jams the division of leukemia blasts, resulting in reduced blast levels and enabling normal bone marrow cells to regrow,” Rombotis said.

Mr. Rombotis has a prestigious professional background. Before joining Cyclacel at its inception, he was the Vice President of International Operations and Business Development; Managing Director, Europe; and Director, Japanese joint venture, at The Liposome Company, Inc. He also served as Vice President of Pharmaceuticals for Central and Eastern Europe and as Director of International Marketing at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY). He was Head of European Marketing and Sales, Head of Corporate Development and one of the first employees of Centocor, Inc., and worked in business development at Novartis AG (NVS).

On May 21, Mr. Rombotis bought 100,000 additional shares of Cyclacel at $3 per share, according to this SEC filing, and has accumulated a total of 268,292 shares in his personal portfolio. Mr. Rombotis was joined in this share purchase by his Chief Financial Officer Paul McBarron as detailed in this filing.

Are these insiders signaling a positive outcome to this Phase III trial?