Photonamic acquires oncology unit of VC-backed MolecuLight

Toronto-based medical imaging company MolecuLight has sold its clinical oncology business to Photonamic GmbH & Co KG for an undisclosed amount.

Launched in 2013 by CSO Ralph DaCosta, MolecuLight develops fluorescent imaging technology for clinical and commercial applications. Its initial solution, MolecuLight i:X, is a handheld imaging device for assessing wounds.

Photonamic, a German pharmaceutical affiliate of Japan’s SBI Holdings Inc, previously partnered with MolecuLight in the oncology field. It said the deal will expand its research and development activities.

Moleculight has been backed since its founding by Canadian healthcare technology venture capital firm iGan Partners and other investors.


photonamic GmbH & Co. KG (Germany) Acquires the Oncology Business from MolecuLight Inc. (Canada)

TORONTO, Aug. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ – photonamic GmbH & Co. KG (Head office: Pinneberg, Germany; CEO: Ulrich Kosciessa, Ph.D.) (“photonamic”), a subsidiary of SBI Holdings, Inc. (Head office: Minato-ku,Tokyo; Representative Director, President and CEO: Yoshitaka Kitao) is engaged in the business of pharmaceutical development of 5-aminolevulinic acid (“5-ALA”) (*) hereby announces the acquisition of the Oncology Business of MolecuLight Inc. (Head office: Toronto, Canada; CEO: Anil Amlani) (“MolecuLight”), through its newly formed subsidiary, SBI ALApharma Canada.

MolecuLight is a world leader in the wound care field with their novel MolecuLight i:X® point-of-care fluorescence imaging product suite for chronic wounds, which has also undergone successful research in Oncology. Photonamic and MolecuLight have been collaborating for a number of years in the Oncology market, combining MolecuLight´s proprietary fluorescence imaging technology with photonamic´s 5-ALA contrast agent.

MolecuLight´s handheld fluorescent imaging platform for Oncology called “Eagle®” supports surgeons and pathologists in real-time visualization of tumors during surgery after 5-ALA had been administered to patients. 5-ALA, manufactured by photonamic, selectively causes tumor cells to produce a bright red fluorescence from protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) that is detected by MolecuLight’s intraoperative Eagle® imaging device under violet light excitation. This real-time fluorescence image-guided surgery (FGS) procedure combining both technologies has already been tested clinically for breast cancer surgery by MolecuLight and photonamic at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center (a “top 5” cancer center in the world) in collaboration with University Health Network (UHN), one of the largest healthcare research institutes in North America.

“With this acquisition, we are further expanding our R&D activities into additional tumor entities other than Glioblastoma surgery for which we already have successfully developed an 5-ALA based product which is marketed in more than 40 countries worldwide,” explained Ulrich Kosciessa, photonamic GmbH & Co. KG’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.”

“We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of our clinical oncology business by such a valued and strategic partner as photonamic,” says 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.” Sam Ifergan, MolecuLight’s Chairman and founder of iGan Partners adds, “For shareholders 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.”

The SBI Group will continue to pursue a range of potential applications of 5-ALA and focus on research and development to provide pharmaceuticals that satisfy unmet medical needs for patients globally.

(*) 5-aminolevulinic acid (“5-ALA”)
An endogenous amino acid derivative produced in mitochondria. Apart from its natural role as an important natural substance metabolized to heme and cytochromes serving the forenergy production in the mitochondria membranes it is metabolized to protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) in cancer cells. PPIX, a photosensitizer, can be activated by violet/blue light causing pink fluorescence, clearly visualizing the respective cancer cells.

About photonamic GmbH & Co. KG
photonamic is a German based company involved in the development of 5-ALA in various applications as precursor for the photosensitizer PP IX. As a member of the SBI group with its parent company SBI ALA Hong Kong photonamic developed 5-ALA for the fluorescence guided resection of Glioblastoma which is marketed as Gliolan™ or Alabel™ through various partners in e.g. Europe, Japan, Australia and Korea and Gleolan™ in the United States through its own subsidiary NXDC Inc. Within the group photonamic and its affiliated companies in the US, Canada and Japan are aggressively extending the development activities with 5-ALA even outside the field of photodynamic application, e.g. food supplement, cosmetics.

About MolecuLight Inc.

MolecuLight Inc. ( is a privately owned Canadian medical imaging company that has developed and is commercializing its proprietary fluorescent imaging platform technology in multiple clinical and commercial markets. Its initial product and accessories, the MolecuLight i:X®, delivers a real-time handheld fluorescence imaging solution for the global wound care market. It provides clinicians with new information about the fluorescent characteristics of wounds to assist clinicians in making improved diagnostic and treatment decisions. The company is also commercializing its unique fluorescence imaging platform technology for other markets with globally-relevant unmet needs including food safety, consumer cosmetics and other key industrial markets.