Wisconsin isotope developer secures funding

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Shine Medical Technologies, a Middleton, Wis.-based startup, has secured an initial $11 million in venture capital funding as part of its bid to develop a manufacturing plant that will assist with the shortage of medical isotopes.

Working in partnership with the private nonprofit Morgridge Institute for Research, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and other public and private collaborators, Shine has achieved a series of milestones in its efforts to develop a domestic production source for molybdenum-99.

In September 2010, the group led by Shine and the Morgridge Institute gained a $500,000 cooperative agreement from the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative to develop a technology for production of molybdenum-99 without use of highly enriched uranium.

The byproduct of molybdenum-99—technetium-99m—is extracted by hospital radiopharmacy staff and used in 55,000 diagnostic nuclear imaging procedures each day in the U.S., including diagnoses of cardiac disease and cancer and studies of brain and kidney function.

Achievement of the latest technical and investment milestones enables the group to proceed with a request to secure the remaining federal matching funds of up to $25 million, according to the Shine.

Leading the latest investment round with a commitment of $10 million to Shine was Knox LLC of Las Vegas, the investment vehicle of Frederick J. Mancheski. Greg Piefer, Shine CEO, said the investment by Mancheski and additional commitments from 14 other individual investors builds on initial support from Wisconsin Investment Partners and the Morgridge Institute.

Piefer said several sites are currently under review as possible locations for the new Shine plant. The operation is expected to initially create more than 100 permanent jobs with the possibility of even further employment growth. The plant will foster additional employment opportunities in supporting industries. The current timetable anticipates completion of the plant in 2014.