UW Professor Jim Olson’s start-up company Blaze Bioscience Raises $8.5M to help surgeons pinpoint cancer with “tumor paint”

Seattle biotechnology start-up Blaze Bioscience has raised $8.5 million to continue developing technologies that are designed to help surgeons more easily identify cancer cells in the body. Total funding in the company now stands at $9.8 million. Blaze said that the money came from individual investors, including doctors and biotech execs.

Blaze’s Tumor Paint technology is designed to provide real-time, high-resolution visualization of cancer cells, enabling better detection and more complete and precise surgical removal of cancer. The first product, which is a combination of a targeting peptide and a fluorescent beacon, is under development for cancer surgery in multiple solid tumor types.

The funding will support the advancement of Blaze’s Tumor Paint product and the expansion of Blaze’s leadership team and establishment of a corporate headquarters, including laboratory space, in the South Lake Union area of Seattle.

Blaze was co-founded by Jim Olson, a pediatric neuro-oncologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, a member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and a Professor at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine. Blaze is a Fred Hutchinson spin-out and the technology was initiated under a grant with three researchers: Olson, Rich Ellenbogen of UW and Seattle Children’s Hospital, and Miqin Zhang of UW. Following the initial grant, the follow up work on the intellectual property that Blaze has licensed was developed at Fred Hutchinson.

Media coverage:

Xconomy Seattle: “Bioscience Caps Off $8.5M Financing, Charges Toward Clinic”

Geekwire: “Blaze Bioscience raises $8.5M to help surgeons pinpoint cancer cells with ‘tumor paint’”