OnTarget Laboratories said it landed a $15 million investment from a pair of backers for its tumor-lighting technology developed at Purdue University by the founder of Endocyte (NSDQ:ECYT).
The OnTarget technology uses small molecules and fluorescent dyes to target and illuminate specific cancerous cells, according to the West Lafayette, Ind.-based company’s website. It was developed by Philip Low, the Ralph Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and director of the Center for Drug Discovery at Purdue University.
"OnTarget Laboratories has developed small-molecule ligands that specifically target these receptors that are over-expressed in cancers. We have attached them to proprietary fluorescent imaging agents that allow the cancers to light up during surgery," said Low, who is OnTarget’s chief science officer, in prepared remarks. "We anticipate that these tumor-targeted probes could help surgeons remove more of the tumor than would have been otherwise possible because they will see the tumors illuminated in real-time during surgery."
The funding round was led by the Pension Fund of the Christian Church and OnTarget co-founder Tom Hurvis, according to a press release. The proceeds are earmarked for clinical trials, CEO Martin Low said in the release.
Endocyte, also co-founded by Philip Low, went public in 2011. Also based in West Lafayette, Endocyte is running trials on its own small molecule drug conjugates in treating ovarian cancer, non-small-cell lung cancer and "advanced solid tumors," according to its website.