CNL and Jubilant Radiopharma collaborate on Actinium-225

7 February 2023

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is to collaborate with US-based Jubilant Radiopharma to develop alpha radiopharmaceuticals. The joint project comes under CNL’s Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative -Health (CNRI-H) programme. It is part of a broader CNL effort to develop radiopharmaceutical therapies using Actinium-225, a medical isotope produced by CNL.

Although the CNRI programme was originally established in 2019 to advance the deployment of small modular reactor (SMRs) and advanced reactor designs, and was expanded in 2021 to include health sciences. Cooperation with Jubilant is the first project in the new CNRI-H programme, which is designed to accelerate the development of targeted radiopharmaceuticals in Canada through collaborations.

CNL maintains diverse capabilities in areas of health and dosimetry. These include pre-clinical animal studies, isotope production and processing, in vitro drug evaluation, targeted radionuclide therapies, ISO-accredited analytical chemistry services and waste management solutions. CNL also seeks to establish itself as an international hub in the research, development and supply of next-generation medical isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals, including the extremely rare Actinium-225 isotope that shows great promise as the basis for new, cutting-edge cancer therapies.

In recent years, CNL has developed a small scale generator which produces enough Actinium-225 for its own research, but also meaningful quantities that it can share with strategic partners in industry and academia. As part of the collaboration, which is partly funded through in-kind contributions from CNL, Jubilant will make use of Actinium-225 and CNL’s unique expertise, facilities and infrastructure to conduct the necessary pre-clinical research needed to advance its new radiopharmaceutical.

George Baidoo, CNL’s Technical Director of Health in Business Development noted: “With the support of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), CNL also continues to invest in our pharmaceutical capabilities, facilities, equipment and quality assurance competencies, having recently obtained Good Laboratory Practices certification. Overall, CNL is well positioned to help companies unlock the potential of new nuclear medicine and radiopharmaceuticals.”

By leveraging the assets owned by AECL, CNL also serves as the nexus between government, the nuclear industry, the broader private sector and the academic community. CNL works in collaboration with these sectors to advance innovative Canadian products and services towards real-world use, including carbon-free energy, cancer treatments and other therapies, non-proliferation technologies and waste management solutions.

At the end of 2022 CNL marked five years since the first successful shipment of Actinium-225, and recently delivered its 100th shipment. Furthermore, CNL has realised steady progress during that same time, including establishing research-scale production facilities at the Chalk River Laboratories campus, implementing international standards to perform pre-clinical research at the site, and securing a global network of partners needed to eventually deliver a stable, commercial supply of the isotope.

CNL is now working towards bringing in significantly larger quantities of Actinium-225 supplies in order to strengthen the supply chain for the isotope. With this in view, it recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ITM Isotope Technologies Munich based in Germany. CNL and ITM intend to leverage their capabilities to establish a stable, supply of Actinium-225 for the global market.

“CNL has been a reliable commercial partner to ITM, providing us with consistent shipments of the highest-quality Actinium-225, which have been used to help advance research needed to unlock the therapeutic potential of this exciting new medical isotope,” commented ITM CEO Steffen Schuster. “Looking to the future, ITM will continue to work together with CNL to accelerate the production and development of Actinium-225, to help bring novel cancer therapies and treatments to the international marketplace.”

CNL is also leveraging its expertise in radiobiology to conduct research that examines the mechanisms of action of Actinium-225 as a cancer treatment. This includes work as part of AECL’s Federal Nuclear Science & Technology Work Plan.

Image courtesy of CNL

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