Belgium’s (Ion Beam Applications (IBA), a leading provider of proton therapy solutions for the treatment of cancer, and US-based NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, which produces radiopharmaceuticals used for medical imaging and therapeutic applications, on 8 March announced a collaboration to increase global availability of technetium-99m (Tc-99m), the most widely used medical radioisotope. The collaboration enables companies outside the USA to access the Tc-99m Generation Systems (TCM Generation Systems) that utilise NorthStar’s proprietary non-uranium based Mo-99 produced using IBA’s accelerators and beamlines.
The collaboration builds on an existing contract under which IBA is providing NorthStar with up to eight Rhodotron® TT 300-HE electron beam accelerators. They will be used for the production of non-uranium based Mo-99, which enables NorthStar’s FDA-approved and commercially available RadioGenix® System (technetium Tc 99m generator) to produce Tc-99m in the USA. NorthStar’s Accelerator Production facility expansion is nearing completion in Beloit, Wisconsin, with the first pair of IBA accelerators due to arrive from Belgium in early April 2021.
“Every year approximately 30 million patients benefit from diagnostic imaging studies using Tc-99m,” said Stephen Merrick, President and CEO of NorthStar. “NorthStar is delighted to expand its collaboration with IBA, as we view them to be an ideal partner to grow the use of non-uranium based Mo-99 to support a sustainable and innovative future for nuclear medicine.” IBA CEO Olivier Legrain commented, “We are pleased to enter into this expanded collaboration for TCM Generation Systems with NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes to enable more companies to access this vital healthcare diagnostic tool.
NorthStar’s Accelerator Production facility expansion in Beloit, Wisconsin, will ensure sustainable domestic Mo-99 supply for the USA through dual production and processing hubs for additional capacity and scheduling flexibility. Pending appropriate licensure and approval, the facility will augment current Mo-99 processing in Columbia, Missouri, conducted in partnership with the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR®).