Biotech company gets funding for work to illuminate cancers

Photo courtesy of On Target Laboratires Inc.

Photo courtesy of On Target Laboratires Inc.

WEST LAFAYETTE — A biotechnology company co-founded by a Purdue University scientist has landed $40 million in financing to help refine technologies that make cancerous tissues appear to glow.

On Target Laboratories says the financing led by Johnson & Johnson Innovation will help it further advance two compounds that are armed with a bright fluorescent dye, which illuminates cancer cells during surgery but leaves normal cells dark.

That illumination can enable surgeons to see and remove cancer lesions they otherwise might have missed.

The privately-held company that’s based at the Purdue Research Park was co-founded by Purdue chemistry professor Philip Low.

Its lead-imaging compound, called OTL38, is expected to soon enter into a Phase 3 clinical trial for use in detecting multiple cancers, including ovarian and lung.