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DOE to cut Moly-99 deals with four US firms

por Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter | February 25, 2019
Molecular Imaging

The firms chosen have been in the news of late, for both scientific and funding reasons.

In early February, NorthStar announced continued commercial progress of its RadioGenix System, which the FDA approved in 2018.

“The 12 months since FDA approval of the RadioGenix System and domestic Mo-99 have been pivotal for NorthStar successfully executing on our carefully planned strategy for rollout into the commercial marketplace and advancing our commitment to provide the U.S. healthcare system with a reliable, domestic, non-uranium-based Mo-99 supply for production of the important medical diagnostic imaging radioisotope, Tc-99m,” said Stephen Merrick, president and chief executive officer of NorthStar, adding, “with the RadioGenix System on the market, NorthStar has commercialized the first innovative technology for production of domestic Mo-99 in nearly 30 years, and we continue to execute upon our carefully staged launch of the product. Every week, a significant and growing number of Tc-99m patient doses are dispensed using RadioGenix Systems and non-uranium Mo-99, with market uptake continuing to be strong and growing.”

In November, 2018, SHINE announced that healthcare investor Deerfield Management Company had signed an agreement to provide $150 million to support diagnostic and therapeutic medical isotope manufacturing.

“We are enthusiastic about partnering with SHINE to help create a permanent and dependable solution to the industry’s Mo-99 shortage and to work on developing other medical isotopes for therapeutic use,” said Steve Hochberg, partner at Deerfield. “We look forward to continuing to work with the talented SHINE team and supporting them as the company scales and executes to address this important need.”

Northwest Medical Isotopes was in the news in January, when theColumbia Business Times reviewed the present state of its efforts in a partnership with Missouri University to make Mo-99 at the university's MURR reactor.

Plans now call for Northwest to be producing Mo-99 in a new facility in Columbia within the next three years, according to the paper, noting that, MURR will irradiate low-enriched uranium, which will then go to the Northwest plant to create Mo-99.

“The U.S. consumes about 80 percent of worldwide Moly-99, and it has not been produced domestically since the 1980s,” Northwest chief operating officer Carolyn Haass told the publication. “Our country has been developing a strategy for the production of Moly-99 since 2007. MURR has supported Northwest in research and development of Moly-99, which has helped them advance their science.”

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