NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes Receives Additional Funding Award for Medical Isotope Program
(MADISON, Wis. – Nov. 1, 2011) – NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, LLC (NMR) has signed a follow on cooperative agreement totaling $4.6 million with the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Global Threat Reduction Initiative for the company’s medical isotope production program. The cooperative agreement will be funded under a 50-50 cost share arrangement between NMR and NNSA and will be used for further development of NorthStar’s medical isotope production technology which uses naturally occurring molybdenum, thereby avoiding any use of uranium (either LEU or HEU). By eliminating the use of uranium as the source material, NorthStar will significantly reduce the radioactive waste by-products compared to the uranium fission-based production processes and help further a key U.S. non-proliferation initiative.
Molybdenum-99 is a precursor to technetium-99m which is used throughout the U.S. in approximately 50,000 nuclear medicine procedures daily. Technetium-99m is used for common diagnostic procedures including evaluation of the heart, kidneys, lungs, liver, spleen, bones, and blood flow according to the Society of Nuclear Medicine.
NorthStar’s multiple approaches to solving the molybdenum-99 production difficulties yield low-specific activity (LSA) molybdenum-99. NorthStar’s LSA molybdenum-99 will be loaded into NorthStar’s patented TechneGen™ instrument which will process the molybdenum-99 solution yielding high specific activity (HSA) technetium-99m that meets the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) requirements. The continuing effort under NorthStar’s funding award will be to develop the architectural and site plans for the Beloit, WI facility necessary to start the licensing and permitting activities and to continue to develop operational details of the production process.
“NorthStar is pleased to have the National Nuclear Security Administration recognize the potential of NorthStar’s technologies to solve the molybdenum-99 shortages that for the past four years have intermittently created shortages that limited some diagnostic testing and may continue to do so,” said George P. Messina, NorthStar’s President. “NorthStar believes its linear accelerator molybdenum-99 production process will provide a reliable supply to its customers because it will employ multiple linear accelerators and a redundant power supply and it supports our other initiatives in molybdenum-99 production,” Messina said.
“NorthStar’s business model provides a unique approach to the supply chain in that it is redefining the supply chain up to delivery to nuclear pharmacies,” said Messina. “Combining this fact with NorthStar’s low cost associated with recycling of its raw material, its production approach and the fact that NorthStar can easily handle its waste stream is expected to reduce the cost of molybdenum-99 as compared to NorthStar’s competitors.”
About NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes
NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes was founded in 2005 to pursue development of technologies and provide tools that would be instrumental in bringing needed radioisotopes to the nuclear medicine market. TechneGen is one such tool. NorthStar’s programs include enabling the research community to continue their clinical trial efforts in the development of therapies to fight diseases such as cancer and HIV. In addition to molybdenum-99, NorthStar is currently developing technologies to produce, among others actinium-225 (and daughter bismuth-213), which is considered a promising cancer therapeutic; actinium-227 for possible treatment of metastatic bone cancer. (www.northstarnm.com)