What happened

Shares of Syros Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SYRS) are soaring today, up by 15.7% as of 11:04 a.m. EST, after the company announced that Mark Alles is joining its board of directors. Alles previously served as CEO of Celgene prior to its acquisition by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

So what

The appointment of a new director wouldn't be a major catalyst for most stocks. But small biotech stocks often spike on any positive news. And the addition of Alles, a well-known industry veteran who helped build Celgene into a major player in the biotech world, is certainly a feather in Syros' cap.

Rising orange and blue stock chart on LCD screen

Image source: Getty Images.

Small biotechs often don't get a lot of publicity. But many investors are familiar with Alles' track record and will be more likely to check out the prospects for Syros with him on the company's board.

Alles' appointment comes only two days after Syros announced a collaboration with Global Blood Therapeutics. The two companies plan to work together in developing therapies targeting rare blood diseases beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease.

Now what

There are two main things to watch for with Syros going forward. The company expects to report data from a phase 2 clinical study evaluating experimental drug SY-1425 in combination with Celgene's Vidaza in treating acute myeloid leukemia next year. Syros also hopes to initiate a phase 1 study of SY-5609 targeting solid tumors in the first quarter of 2020.