Shine Medical Technologies based in Monona, Wis., has solidified a deal with GE Healthcare to provide consistent production of molybdenum-99, which decays into technetium-99m—the medical isotope most used throughout the world in nuclear medicine procedures, the company announced last week.
The technology used by Shine has also been praised due to the fact that it does not rely on highly enriched uranium, which is associated with nuclear weapons proliferation. The news is timely, because a North American major supplier is shutting its doors within two years.
“Canada has announced its intention to discontinue moly‐99 production at the very aged [National Research Universal (NRU)] reactor in 2016,” Greg Piefer, PhD, Shine chief executive officer and founder said in a statement from the company. “As a result, the western hemisphere will lose its only large-scale producer of medical isotopes, and the world will lose its biggest single supplier. Because medical isotopes decay so quickly, it’s essential that the United States establish its own domestic production to meet the needs of our 20 million patients each year. In addition, Shine will contribute to the strength of the global supply chain.”
The big buzz behind Shine’s technology is that it is accelerator-based and does not require a nuclear reactor, which means less energy is needed to produce isotopes and less waste is created as a result. GE is now contracted for downstream production, the schedule of which has not yet been determined.