US-based Shine Medical Technologies on 14 June signed a "multiyear" partnership with the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) in Columbia, Missouri, to produce lutetium-177 (Lu-177), a drug that shows promise in targeting and treating certain late-stage cancers. This will allow Shine to move forward in commercialisation of Lu-177, the company said.

Shine spokesman Rod Hise said the company has been producing Lu-177 on a "small scale" at its nuclear particle accelerator testing facility on Janesville's south side. That work is being done in tandem with the ongoing build-out of a 45,000-square-foot production facility that is slated for completion and commercialisation by 2022.

Shine initially received federal regulatory approval to build its future Janesville plant as a production facility to make the bone and tissue illuminating agent molybdenum-99, but the company also has been working toward production of cancer drugs, including Lu-177. 

Hise said when the Janesville production facility is completed, its array of multiple nuclear particle accelerators will be capable of producing 300,000 doses of Lu-177 a year.

The contract with MURR covers irradiation of ytterbium-176, the starting material for the production of Lu-177. “MURR’s experienced team and reliable reactor make its irradiation services invaluable to Shine as we commercialise our Lu-177,” said Katrina Pitas, vice president and general manager of Shine Therapeutics. “MURR’s high neutron flux will help us produce all the non-carrier-added Lu-177 we need to serve our rapidly growing customer base, treating a wide variety of cancers.”