Canada’s BWX Technologies (BWXT) announced on 30 October that it plans to produce germanium-68 (Ge-68) with a focus on addressing growing global demand for the product.
BWXT’s isotope technologies group has developed proprietary manufacturing technology to produce high purity Ge-68. It is in the process of scaling up its capacity to move into full production in 2020 to address growing global customer demands.
Ge-68 will be produced using cyclotrons at BWXT’s Vancouver facility located at the TRIUMF particle accelerator centre. BWXT’s Ge-68 product will be used in gallium-68 (Ga-68) generators, a source of the diagnostic radioisotope Ga-68 used in positron emission tomography (PET). Diagnostic applications for Ga-68 include prostate cancer and neuroendocrine tumours. Several other therapeutic and Ga-68 imaging agents are in various stages of development and clinical trials that are expected to result in a further increase in demand for Ga-68.
Ge-68 is the third new medical radioisotope development project underway at BWXT. In 2018, BWXT announced that it had developed an innovative and unique process to manufacture molybdenum-99 (Mo-99). In late September, the company announced the availability of its generic version of Indium In-111 Oxyquinoline Solution. BWXT also markets four other radiochemical solutions (Indium-111, Iodine-123, Palladium-103 and Strontium-82).
“BWXT is in an excellent position to be able to respond to the market’s growing demand for this critical radioisotope,” said BWXT president and CEO Rex D Geveden. “We acquired the medical isotope business just over a year ago, and we are very pleased with this business and its growing portfolio of products.”