Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Eden Radioisotopes has secured the funding and land necessary to build a reactor that will be used to produce the medical isotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99).
The reactor is smaller than most, operating at 2 megawatts, and requires less maintenance than larger reactors. Designed by Sandia National Laboratories, the reactor, which will sit on 240 acres of land, uses low-enriched uranium and will help produce a domestic supply of Mo-99, which decays into technetium-99m.
“This type of technology has the ability to affect millions of patients worldwide,” Chris Wagner, chief operations officer at Eden, said in an announcement. “I think what continuously drives us is that unless someone solves the supply issue, a lot of patients will be adversely impacted.”
Mo-99 is a critical medical isotope used in more than 40 million nuclear medicine diagnostic procedures each year. The isotope is facing a well-known shortage, however, with multiple companies seeking to establish a reliable supply here in the U.S.
Back in July, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration awarded cooperative agreements for the production of Mo-99 to three U.S. companies, including NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes. They followed that up by awarding a fourth to Corvallis, Oregon-based Northwest Medical Isotopes LLC.