Cancer patients don’t have many good treatment options. Once the disease is detected, most oncologists will surgically remove as much as possible and then use powerful radiation and chemotherapy to kill as many cells in those areas as possible. The side effects from these treatments can be terrible and patients are at a higher risk of additional complications given the weakened state of the immune system.
Theralase Technologies Inc. (OTC: TLTFF) aims to provide a better treatment option using the power of laser light and photodynamic compounds (“PDCs”). In this article, we’ll take a look at how these technologies could revolutionize cancer treatment as well as other areas like pain management.
Theralase Overcomes Key Hurdles
Theralase Technologies delivers light-sensitive PDCs directly into cancerous tumors, via injection, where they are selectively absorbed by cancer cells. A very specific type of laser light is then applied to the region via fiber optic wires, forcing the PDCs to become cytotoxic and inducing apoptosis – or cell death – in the cancer cells. Since no surgery is necessary, the process is more affordable and minimally invasive.
The company’s approach is unique in that it’s effective in hypoxic environments (low oxygen), seen in solid-core cancers like: brain, breast, lung and prostate and in hypoxic areas like bladder cancer. Hypoxic cancers are extremely aggressive, resistant to standard therapies, and are very difficult to destroy. Tumor hypoxia is also known to play a role in cancer metastasis and resistance to therapy.
The effectiveness of the approach has already been highlighted in numerous published studies. For example, a December 2013 study published in Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy found that the company’s TLD1411 and TDL1433 maintained photodynamic inactivation (“PDI”) potency under hypoxic conditions becoming even more effective in the low-oxygen environment.
Clear Pathway to Commercialization
Theralase Technologies has outlined a very clear path towards commercializing its unique technology platform with a uniquely qualified management team. President & CEO Roger Dumoulin-White founded the company back in 1995 and has 27+ years of senior management experience with private and public companies, while CSO Dr. Arkady Mandel was a key founder of therapeutic lasers in numerous clinical areas.
On April 3, 2014, the company announced that it executed a research agreement with Acadia University to supply PDCs necessary to commence toxicity studies and ramp up manufacturing. These steps are necessary to file Investigational New Drug (“IND”) applications with the U.S. FDA and Health Canada and begin Phase 1/2a human clinical trials for bladder cancer as early as Q1 2015.
The company hopes to expedite the process using the FDA’s new Breakthrough Therapy program initiated on July 9, 2012 with the Safety and Innovation Act. Management believes that the designation could lead to its PDC technology being available to bladder cancer patients as early as 2016.
Additional Play in Pain Management
Theralase Technologies’ superpulsed laser technology is already being used as a safe and effective way to eliminate pain, reduce inflammation, and accelerate tissue regeneration in nerve, muscle, and joint injuries. The company’s TLC-1000 is a best-in-class technology that has already helped millions of patients throughout Canada and there are plans to launch an even more effective technology, the next generation TLC-2000, in Q4 2014.
Using the technology, monochromatic laser light is delivered into the therapeutic window (wavelength range where laser light can be delivered deep into tissue without heat) in wavelengths ranging from 600 to 950 nanometers. Light particles from these lasers penetrate up to 10 centimeters into tissue and are absorbed into the elements of cell mitochondria, where they increase the rate of ATP production, nitric oxide production and rebalance what is called the sodium potassium pump. ATP production fuels the cells and actuates the healing process, nitric oxide production brings more blood, oxygen and fuel molecules to the injured area to further accelerate healing and rebalancing the sodium potassium pump eliminates pain. A very effective one, two, three punch for effective healing.
On April 15, 2014, the company announced the hiring of Mr. Derek Small as Director of Sales and Marketing to jumpstart revenues in these areas. With over 15 years of experience in both the U.S. and Canada, Mr. Small notably helped another U.S.-based aesthetic laser company grow sales from no revenue to $20 million in annual revenue within five years, taking increasingly senior roles.
Potential Investment Opportunity
Theralase Technologies represents an attractive investment opportunity for a variety of different reasons. In the cancer treatment space, the company’s unique approach could open the door to significant long-term revenue potential. Commercialization partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies in oncology, like GlaxoSmithKline plc. (NYSE: GSK), could also boost its near-term potential.
In the meantime, the company’s existing cold laser therapy division continues to generate revenue. The hiring of Mr. Small could significantly expand that revenue through 2014, particularly if his prior experience serves as any indicator. These revenues could make the stock attractive in the pain management space as an alternative to options like Pain Therapeutics Inc.’s (NASDAQ: PTIE) REMOXY.
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