Esperance Pharmaceuticals Inc., located at the Louisiana Emerging Technology Center at LSU, has secured $7.5 million in financing for its line of cancer-fighting drugs, the company announced Tuesday.

The funding will support further clinical development of EP-100, Esperance’s chief drug technology designed to selectively seek and destroy cancer cells, including cells known to be resistant to chemotherapeutic drugs, without harming normal cells.

Esperance is now testing the drug on tumors in cancer patients, said Hector Alila, president and chief executive officer of Esperance Pharmaceuticals. This phase of testing should be complete in the second half of this year. The next stage includes increasing the dosage to test the safety and tolerability of the drug, he added. This phase should be complete in the second half of 2012.

“As you well know, drug development is a lengthy process,” Alila said. “We are still years away from having an approved drug, but this financing brings us one step closer to this goal.”

Sanofi, a large French pharmaceutical company, led the so-called Series B funding with an investment of $4.5 million, which includes $1.5 million in clinical and regulatory services to support further development of EP-100, Esperance said in a statement.

“Esperance has made great strides over the last few years building an impressive, proprietary technology platform with broad-based application and bringing forth strong therapeutic candidates to its pipeline,” said Joseph F. Lovett, chairman of the board of Esperance and managing general partner at Louisiana Fund I, another investor in Esperance.

Esperance was awarded more than $244,000 last year as part of a grant created by the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as the country’s healthcare overhaul plan.