The NRG Foundation and the Preparation Pallas-reactor Foundation (PALLAS), both based in the Netherlands, announced on 14 January that they intend to join together into a single organisation.
“By combining our forces, we are able to make large steps forward in the development and production of nuclear medicines used for diagnostic purposes and for the treatment of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. To this end, we need to establish a state-of-the art infrastructure that is being developed as we speak,” said Bertholt Leeftink, CEO of NRG/PALLAS.
Every day, more than 30,000 patients benefit from the Petten-produced products for their diagnoses or treatment. NRG is the world’s largest producer of raw materials for nuclear medicines.
PALLAS is in the process of realising the new infrastructure that is necessary to continue to hold this position. By fusing together the two organisations – located in Petten, Alkmaar and Arnhem – major action can be taken to further enhance this position, the announcement said.
With its unique combination of nuclear installations and expert knowledge at the Energy & Health Campus, over the last 60 years Petten developed into a prestigious location that is globally held in high regard. NRG and PALLAS represent two functions in this process: production and research. The production of raw materials for nuclear medicines, research aimed at the development of new nuclear medicines, and research focused on generating carbon-neutral energy.
“The products and services in the field of medicines and energy are of serious social importance, now and in the future. In order to prepare for this future, the innovation of the infrastructure is in full development. The choice to continue as one organisation allows us to combine the existing nuclear technological knowledge base that we have been creating over the past 60 years with the infrastructure, innovation and impact of the future,” the statement noted.
It added that reactor is the infrastructure’s foundation. “A smooth transition from the High Flux Reactor (HFR) to the new PALLAS-reactor is essential to guarantee both the supply of medical isotopes and the research function. Preparations are being made to realise the new PALLAS-reactor.”
For the HFR, in addition to the existing maintenance programme, NRG initiated the continued safe operation programme in 2018, which focuses on controlling the consequences of obsolescence. This programme is now examining a period lasting until at least 2030 in which the HFR should remain operational.
The irradiated products from the reactor have to be further processed into raw materials for nuclear medicines. To this end, a Nuclear Health Centre will be put in place that can be used to execute the necessary chemical processing steps on an industrial level.
“The collaboration with various national and international university hospitals and knowledge facilities must turn Petten into a European breeding ground for the development of production processes for new nuclear medicines. To this effect, research is being performed in collaboration with academic medical centres, focused on accelerating the development of these nuclear medicines. To support this process, the FIELD-LAB is under construction.”
Bertholt Leeftink said the quality research pursued with the nuclear medicine specialists working at the FIELD-LAB, and the facilities available to realise large-scaled production, allow direct delivery to hospitals. “Nuclear medicines are perishable products. Short lines and short delivery times therefore promote treatment for more patients. The development of new nuclear medicines demands an effort from the supply chain, and by collaborating with the hospital researchers we can actually have these new medicines taken into production. By making this step, we do not only create a more efficient production and development process, but we also remain closer to the hospitals and, as such, to the patient”.