GE, investment firm to develop cyclotron, PET tracers

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GE Healthcare and NXT2B, a privately owned venture capital firm started in 2011, have entered into a joint financing agreement with the goal of developing a micro-scale radiotracer infrastructure including cyclotron and PET tracer production.

The three-year development project will be led by GE Healthcare and will be headquartered in Uppsala, Sweden. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

At the core of the new TRACERcenter 600 is a compact cyclotron, and a radiotracer production operation. The PETtrace 600 cyclotron will have a footprint approximately 50 percent smaller than a traditional cyclotron, according to the companies. Together with PETtrace 600, TRACERcenter 600 will be capable of producing a portfolio of F18 and C11 tracers to detect cancer and neurodegenerative disease. 

While PET scanner technology has rapidly developed and evolved, parallel advancements in the necessary tracer production equipment and processes have not occurred, according to GE. With the inherent nature of the short-lived isotopes, distribution is often not possible due to lack of supporting infrastructure in regions where PET imaging is expanding.