NorthStar will buy accelerator to produce ‘highly limited’ cancer radioisotope

Nuclear medicine specialist NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes has signed a deal to buy a new electron beam accelerator needed to produce a cancer therapy that’s in “highly limited” supply.

The Beloit, Wisconsin, firm announced its contract to purchase a third Rhodotron TT300 HE accelerator from Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium-based IBA early on Thursday. It will soon be put to work producing actinium-225 (Ac-225), a therapeutic radioisotope used to deliver targeted radiation to kill cancer cells that’s currently in short supply.

“NorthStar is at the forefront of U.S. radioisotope production as the only commercialized producer of the diagnostic imaging radioisotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99),” President and CEO Stephen Merrick said in a statement. “We are applying that same development expertise to rapidly advance large-scale availability of the therapeutic radioisotope Ac-225 for use in oncology and other indications, and we are excited about its potential in these disease areas.”

NorthStar said it is in the final stretches of designing its facility that will solely produce Ac-225, with construction slated to kick off early next year. The first batches of Ac-225 are being planned for late 2023, the company noted.

Merrick and NorthStar have had a busy past couple of years. The firm recently won a $37 million cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Energy to bolster its Mo-99 capabilities. And earlier this year, it gained federal approval for a new application to increase its Mo-99 production by fourfold.

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