About Us

Corporate Background

Cyclenium was founded by management and research staff from Tranzyme Pharma, one of the pioneers in the generation and use of small molecule macrocycles for drug discovery.  Tranzyme was the first company to prepare and use large screening libraries (50,000+) of synthetic macrocyclic compounds to identify and optimize multiple lead candidates that progressed to late stage clinical trials. Subsequent to Tranzyme’s merger with Ocera Therapeutics (now part of Mallinckrodt Plc (NYSE: MNK)) and closure of its Canadian R & D site, the founders created, based on their vast experience, profound knowledge base in macrocyclic chemistry, and exceptional track record of successful lead and clinical candidate generation, a proprietary next generation technology that addresses the deficiencies of earlier efforts in this rapidly growing field.


  • October 2018: Discovery collaboration with AiCuris (Germany) for anti-infective pharmaceuticals

  • September 2018: Funding from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) received for joint anti-viral program with Haplogen

  • September 2018: Collaborative project with Haplogen Biosciences on pan-flaviviral therapeutics recognized with EUREKA label

  • December 2017: Drug discovery collaboration agreement established with Ono Pharmaceutical (Japan)

  • March 2017: Research agreement on multiple targets formed with the Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto)

  • July 2016: Beyond Europe grant received from the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) for joint project with Haplogen GmbH

  • April 2016: Broad drug discovery collaboration initiated with the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ)

  • June 2015: Multiple research agreements announced with McGill University (Montreal)

  • May 2015: Major drug discovery collaboration established with Astellas Pharma (Japan)

  • May 2015: Collaborative antiviral drug discovery agreement with Haplogen GmbH (Austria)

  • February 2015: Drug discovery collaboration on infectious disease targets with Fundación MEDINA (Spain)

  • January 2015: Grant (NSERC-ARD) awarded for research with TransBIOTech (Quebec)

  • January 2015: Research agreement with IRICoR (U. Montreal) in cancer and immunological disorders

  • December 2014: NSERC-CRD grant awarded for collaborative research on a pain target with Prof. Y. Dory (U. Sherbrooke)

  • April 2014: Collaboration and co-development agreement for oncology and antivirals with Southern Research Institute (USA)

  • February 2014: Began formal operations in the NeoMed Institute, Montreal

  • January 2014: Conception of Cyclenium CMRT Technology

  • December 2013: Incorporated in Quebec, Canada

Management Team

Helmut Thomas, Ph.D., DABT, President, Chief Executive Officer &
Chief Scientific Officer

Dr Helmut Thomas

Dr. Thomas was Senior Vice President, Research & Preclinical Development at Tranzyme Pharma for over seven years prior to co-founding Cyclenium Pharma. He is a highly accomplished biochemist and toxicologist with an extensive and productive career in drug discovery and development. He began his career with CIBA-GEIGY in Basel, Switzerland in 1990 and became the Head of Toxicology and Preclinical Safety at CIBA-GEIGY Pharmaceuticals UK in 1994.

Following the merger with Sandoz in 1997, Dr. Thomas spent the next eight years with Novartis Pharma, where he held several top-level management positions in Europe and the U.S., culminating in his appointment as Executive Director, Global Project Manager and Leader of the PRIDE (Proof of Research In Development) Team Oncology in East Hanover, NJ.

While at Novartis, he directed the preclinical development of more than 25 drug candidates, including such important marketed drugs as Diovan® for hypertension and Gleevec® for chronic myeloid leukemia.

He joined Tranzyme from LymphoSign Inc., where he served as Vice President, Research and Development.

Dr. Thomas received his Ph.D. in biochemistry and organic chemistry from the University of Hannover, Germany. He is an author of over 130 scientific articles, book chapters and abstracts as well as a co-inventor on numerous patents.


Mark L. Peterson, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer & Corporate Secretary


Prior to co-founding Cyclenium Pharma, Dr. Peterson was Vice President, IP & Operations at Tranzyme Pharma, where he led the chemistry R & D efforts during the technology development stage of the company and the initiation of its GPCR-based drug discovery programs.  He later focused on building and maintaining an extensive portfolio of over 120 patents and applications protecting Tranzyme's pioneering technology and pharmaceutical product candidates.

Previously with Monsanto and Advanced ChemTech, he has worked in a variety of research areas including structure-based design, solid phase organic chemistry, combinatorial libraries, synthetic automation, heterocycles, unnatural amino acids, peptides and peptidomimetics.

Dr Peterson received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Washington State University and conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Minnesota, Department of Medicinal Chemistry.  He is author or co-author of over 85 publications and abstracted presentations plus three book chapters, as well as co-inventor on over 25 patents.