NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes at the Mo-99 Topical Meeting:
Chief Science Officer Reports Continued Progress Toward Non-Uranium-Based Production of Mo-99
WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 15, 2014 – NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes LLC is making continued progress towards establishing a commercially viable domestic supply of the radioisotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), according to NorthStar’s chief science officer, James T. Harvey, Ph. D.
Harvey provided an update on NorthStar’s progress in two presentations at the 2014 Mo-99 Topical Meeting here, June 24-27. The meeting, sponsored by National Nuclear Security Administration, brought together international and domestic policy and technical experts to report on and discuss progress toward achieving the production of Mo-99 without the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU).
Harvey described two non-uranium based (Non-HEU) production processes that NorthStar is pursuing, both of which produce only a benign waste stream. One is the reactor-based neutron capture process at the Missouri University Research Reactor (MURR) in Columbia, Mo. Harvey reported that efforts are “well underway” to ready the facility for inspection by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and subsequent production. He said that the second process is a linear accelerator (LINAC)-based photon capture process which is still in the design stage at NorthStar’s facility in Beloit, Wis. At present, the focus is on process optimization with a series of curie level production runs, he said.
Harvey’s second presentation was an update on NorthStar’s new generating system, RadioGenix, which is currently under consideration by the FDA. RadioGenix is an isotope separation system that would be used with company’s proprietary production processes to create a U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP)-compliant high specific activity technetium-99m (Tc-99m) from a low specific activity solution of Mo-99. The resulting high-specific activity Tc-99m product would be USP-compliant and of the type produced in nuclear pharmacies throughout the United States.
Producing Mo-99 without the use of HEU will provide a more secure and reliable supply of Mo-99, parent isotope of Tc-99m, the most widely used medical isotope. Today, nearly all Mo-99 is produced at aging facilities located outside of the United States, leading to chronic shortages and creating safety and national security concerns.
NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes LLC
Based in Madison, Wis., NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes LLC (northstarnm.com) was founded in 2006 to address the needs of the nuclear medicine market in the United States. A wholly owned subsidiary of NorthStar Medical Technologies LLC, the company is committed to resolving industry-wide supply challenges that have caused shortages of vital medical isotopes, negatively impacting patient care and stalling clinical research. Its patented technologies include innovative non-uranium based molybdenum-99 production methods, a novel separation chemistry system and tools for the nuclear medicine market.