A flexible synthetic approach to biologically active sphingoid base-like compounds with a 3-amino-1,2-diol framework was achieved through a [3,3]-sigmatropic rearrangement and late stage olefin cross-metathesis as the key transformations. The stereochemistry of the newly created stereogenic centre was assigned via a single crystal X-ray analysis of the (4S,5R)-5-(hydroxymethyl)-4-vinyloxazolidine-2-thione. In order to rationalise the observed stereoselectivity of the aza-Claisen rearrangement, DFT calculations were carried out. The targeted isomeric sphingoid bases were screened in vitro for anticancer activity on a panel of seven human malignant cell lines. Cell viability experiments revealed that C17-homologues are more active than their C12 congeners.