The modern concept of cycloid psychoses is primarily based upon the clinical delineation of their phenotypes according to Leonhard. By settling the dilemma of Kraepelinean "atypical psychoses", their description may be considered one of the major achievements of clinical psychiatry in the last century. In particular, this had been facilitated by the work of Wernicke and Kleist. Albeit not yet generally recognized, cycloid psychoses have already stimulated great efforts of research yielding remarkable results. In this article, we elucidate the concept of cycloid psychoses and present recent findings pertaining to their putative biological foundations. Finally, future perspectives for the field of biological psychiatry are proposed fostering the heuristics of Leonhard's nosology.