On Target Laboratories, a privately held biotechnology company working to advance its revolutionary tumor-targeted fluorescent imaging technology designed to help surgeons to be more precise, allowing them to pinpoint and remove more cancerous tissues than has ever been possible before, while preserving more healthy tissue for patients, has secured U.S.$ 40 million in a combination of equity and convertible debt financing.

The financing round was led by Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

The funds will speed development of On Target Laboratories’ proprietary targeted fluorescent dye technology.

Based in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette in Indiana, On Target Laboratories is developing a series of molecules, which, when administered intravenously, show promise in targeting many types of solid tumor cells.

Photo 1.0: The photo shows a surgeon’s view of cancerous tissue as seen during a traditional surgery and then the same cancerous tissue after a patient been given OTL38 intravenously. OTL38, a product of On Target Laboratories, is armed with a bright fluorescent dye that binds with the diseased tissue, making it light up, or fluoresce. On Target Laboratories is evaluating whether OTL38 allows surgeons to better locate smaller nodules, enabling them to spare healthy tissue and appropriately stage the patient for further treatment.

These molecules carry a bright fluorescent dye to targeted cells which then illuminate cancer cells during surgery, leaving normal healthy cells dark. This enabling surgeons to better diagnose and remove any solid tumor while avoiding ‘collateral damage’ to healthy tissue.

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In addition to sporting ongoing research and development, On Target Laboratories plans to use the funding to further advance the development of its lead imaging compound, OTL38, for use in detecting multiple cancers, including ovarian and lung, and also development of a second imaging compound for additional cancers.

“This funding round will allow us to continue work aimed at benefiting the lives of ovarian and lung cancer patients worldwide by enabling surgeons to see and remove cancer lesions that they otherwise would have missed if not for this fluorescent imaging technology,” said Martin Low, CEO of On Target Laboratories.

“We are thrilled to have Johnson & Johnson Innovation as our investment partner.”

Clinical trial
OTL38, which will shortly be entered into a Phase III clinical trial, is given to patients intravenously before surgery.

In ovarian cancer surgery studies, OTL38 is being evaluated for its ability to help surgeons locate and remove hard-to-find cancerous lesions that are often widespread.

Similarly, in clinical trials of OTL38 in lung cancer surgery, On Target Laboratories is evaluating whether OTL38 allows surgeons to better locate smaller nodules, enabling them to spare healthy tissue and appropriately stage the patient for further treatment.

“Our goal is to significantly improve the treatment of cancer patients undergoing surgery, by helping the surgeon identify and resect malignant lesions that are too small or buried to be seen with the naked eye,” said Philip S. Low, Ph.D., Presidential Scholar in Drug Discovery and Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Purdue University.

Low pioneered the technology at Purdue and is a co-founder of On Target Laboratories.

Last Editorial Review: December 1, 2017

Featured Image: Doctors and nurse in operation room. Courtesy: ? Fotolia | Used with permission. Photo 1.0: A surgeon’s view of cancerous tissue. Courtesy: ? On Target Laboratories | Used with permission.

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