Although molecularly targeted cancer therapies have shown great promise, it is now evident that responses are dependent upon the molecular genetic context. Spatial and temporal tumour heterogeneity renders biopsy of solid tumours unsuitable for determining the genetic profile of the disease, making adaptation of appropriate therapy difficult. We have utilized the tunable optical absorption characteristic of gold nanorods to assess the potential of photoacoustics for non-invasive multiplexed molecular imaging. Gold nanorods with resonance peaks at 700nm and 900nm were functionalised with in-house antibodies ICR55 and ICR62, targeted to HER2 and EGFR transmembrane receptors, respectively. Three human squamous carcinoma cell lines (LICR-LON-HN4 expressing high HER2 and low EGFR, LICR-LON-HN3 expressing intermediate levels of HER2 and EGFR and A431 expressing high EGFR and low HER2) were incubated with the targeted nanorods for 24 hours. Cells were then incorporated as simulated tumours in tissue-like phantoms composed of 7.5% gelatin containing 0.5% Intralipid® for optical scattering and imaged at a depth of 2.5 cm, using a new clinical in-house multi-spectral photoacoustic imaging system. Images were obtained from the cell inclusions for wavelengths ranging from 710 to 950 nm at 40 nm intervals, and the mean amplitude of the photoacoustic image was computed for each wavelength, to determine their relative receptor expression levels. The molecular profile of the cells obtained using multi-wavelength photoacoustics had substantial similarity to that obtained using flow cytometry. These preliminary results confirm selective uptake of the functionalised nanorods, which reflects the cellular expression of therapeutically important oncoproteins, and give an indication of the potential of photoacoustics for multiplexed molecular profiling.