nuBeam suite for boron neutron capture therapy (Photo courtesy of Neutron Therapeutics)

Aviko, Neutron Therapeutics to open first boron neutron capture therapy center in the US

June 12, 2023
by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter
Aviko Radiopharmaceuticals, a Deerfield Management-founded biotechnology company specializing in boron neutron capture therapy, has partnered with Neutron Therapeutics, developer of the nuBeam BNCT suite, to open the first BNCT treatment center in the U.S.

Using boron-10, a non-radioactive isotope, BNCT emits high-energy charged particles to systematically destroy tumors, while minimizing damage to healthy tissue. It is one of various advanced forms of radiotherapy that radiation oncologists are investigating as an alternative to photon radiotherapy, due to its preciseness and fewer side effects, including increased risks for secondary cancer.

They also are a “fraction” of the cost of proton therapy systems, which take years to build and cost tens to hundreds of millions, according to Dave Greenwald, CEO of Aviko and vice president of business development at Deerfield Management.

Aviko will combine its pipeline of boron medicine, which possesses properties for effective BNCT, including high tumor selectivity, with the nuBeam system, a BNCT suite with an accelerator that produces high neutron flux to shorten treatment times, improving patient experiences.

“In clinical trials, BNCT has shown efficacy in fewer treatments compared to other approaches, sometimes in only one to two treatments,” Greenwald told HCB News.

The precise nature of the treatment, plus the nontoxic boron and safe neutrons are what mitigate side effects, compared to radiotherapy. While not yet sure of a date for when the system will be operational, Aviko and BNCT plan to form collaborations with U.S. academic medical centers interested in investing in BNCT for cancer research purposes.

The nuBeam suite is a single-room system that includes beam-shaping assembly, patient positioning systems and ancillary equipment, and is powered by an accelerator-based, in-hospital neutron source instead of a reactor. This source includes a 2.6 MeV electrostatic proton accelerator. It is not yet FDA-cleared.

There are currently 16 BNCT clinics in the world, primarily in Asia and Europe.