West Lafayette-based On Target Laboratories Inc. has announced a clinical research and product development collaboration with Mauna Kea Technologies in Paris. On Target says the partnership aims to improve the identification and diagnosis of pulmonary cancers.

On Target Labs is developing fluorescent imaging technology that can illuminate cancerous tissue, making it easier for surgeons to remove. Mauna Kea is a medical device company that has developed Cellvizio, which provides the ability to image tissues at the cellular level, including cancer cells, through a non-invasive procedure.

The company says the collaboration will “explore and establish the value of molecular image-guided procedures for the identification and diagnosis of pulmonary cancers during interventional bronchoscopy.”

On Target cites a study that reported it could take up to six months to diagnose a lung nodule and the majority of those were diagnosed at advanced stages of lung cancer.

The partners say the combination of their products could create a novel category of medical procedures, known as Molecular Image-guided Procedures, which could provide real-time imaging of cancer at the cellular level. The MIPs during a bronchoscopic lung biopsy could improve the diagnostic accuracy of biopsies and reduce the number of procedures, time and complications for getting a diagnosis.

“We are guided by our mission to illuminate cancer intraoperatively. This collaboration with Mauna Kea has the potential to expand the benefits of intraoperative molecular imaging to interventional pulmonology,” On Target CEO Chris Barys said in written remarks. “We look forward to seeing the meaningful difference these two transformational technologies could bring to patients fighting cancer.”

The partners say the collaboration could potentially expand to cover additional types of cancers.

On Target Labs was founded by Dr. Philip Low, the Presidential Scholar for Drug Discovery and Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Purdue University. The company recently received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its imaging drug Cytalux, which is used to help surgeons spot ovarian cancer tumors.