MolecuLight’s oncology business acquired by Germany-based Photonamic


Toronto-based MolecuLight‘s clinical oncology business has been acquired by Photonamic GmbH & Co. KG. The two businesses will form a subsidiary of Photonamic, called SBI ALApharma Canada.

“MolecuLight said the acquisition means that its core technology will be further expanded globally to a new market and could become a standard of care.”

MolecuLight, which develops fluorescence-guided imaging technologies for health applications, has previously collaborated with Photonamic in oncology, combining MolecuLight ́s proprietary fluorescence imaging technology with Photonamic ́s 5-ALA contrast agent. Rob Sandler, chief marketing officer of MolecuLight, told BetaKit the deal will provide revenue as well as a return to MolecuLight’s investors on “the fundamental technology and its commercial and clinical utility in other markets.”

“We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of our clinical oncology business by such a valued and strategic partner as Photonamic,” said Anil Amlani, MolecuLight’s CEO. “Our technologies are very complementary, and we look forward to supporting SBI ALApharma Canada and Photonamic in their efforts to leverage handheld fluorescence imaging and 5-ALA in the guidance of oncological surgery and, ultimately, in the improvement of patient outcomes.”

The companies are working to continue research in 5-ALA, an amino acid derivative produced in mitochondria. The compound is metabolized in cancer cells, and can be activated by violet or blue light, sharply visualizing the cancer cells. MolecuLight was founded in 2012 by Ralph DaCosta, who created a handheld fluorescent imaging device for applications in wound treatment. This wound assessment device provides real-time imaging of bacteria distribution in wounds at point of care.

“This confirms the wide-sweeping clinical utility of the technology, which will continue to provide new insights to clinicians to better diagnose diseases and guide treatments,” said Sam Ifergan, MolecuLight’s chairman and founder of iGan Partners, which invested in MolecuLight’s $4 million seed round in 2014.

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Sandler said the acquisition means that MolecuLight’s core technology will be further expanded globally to a new market and could become a standard of care, calling it a significant validation of the technology platform. He added that the proceeds from the sale are being invested in MolecuLight’s global commercial expansion, and will fund sales and clinical applications, global marketing programs, and expansion in clinical evidence-building initiatives.

“With this acquisition, we are further expanding our R&D activities into additional tumour entities other than Glioblastoma [a form of brain cancer] surgery for which we already have successfully developed a 5-ALA based product, which is marketed in more than 40 countries worldwide,” said Ulrich Kosciessa, Photonamic’s CEO. “We are pleased to extend the successful and excellent collaboration with MolecuLight to the next level, targeting the approval of both the device and photosensitizer in various clinical cancer markets.”

Image courtesy Pixabay

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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