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Lantheus bolsters its Mo-99 supply chain

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | May 24, 2010
Lantheus' new agreement
may ease the company's
Mo-99 pains.
Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc. hopes a new agreement will bring it some relief from the ongoing molybdenum-99 supply crunch.

On Friday, the N. Billerica, Mass.-based company announced it struck a deal with the Czech Nuclear Research Institute and the Belgian Institute for Radioelements to produce mo-99 partly by using the Czech LVR-15 research reactor located several miles northwest of Prague, in Rez, Czech Republic.

"Target irradiation is being completed at [the] Czech LVR-15 reactor," William Dawes, vice president of manufacturing and supply chain for Lantheus, told DOTmed News by email. "Mo-99 finishing is being completed at the facilities of IRE in [Fleurus,] Belgium."

Lantheus got FDA approval May 17 and Health Canada's OK May 20 to distribute the Czech- and Belgian-made Mo-99, the parent isotope of technetium-99, a radioisotope critical to many kinds of medical imaging. U.S. shipping began as soon as the approval came in May 17, Lantheus said.

The LVR-15 reactor now becomes the first reactor to enter the radioisotope supply chain since February, when Covidien inked a deal to get Mo-99 from the Maria Reactor in Swierk, Poland.

Lantheus would not comment on exactly how far this new deal goes towards protecting the company from the isotope supply worries plaguing the industry since two of the main isotope-producing reactors, the National Research Universal in Chalk River, Ontario and the High Flux Reactor in Petten, Netherlands, went down for repairs.

The High Flux, out since February, is expected to come back online at the end of the summer. The NRU's repairs, which began in December, should finish by the end of July, according to Atomic Energy Canada Limited, which runs the site. Repairs are currently 77 percent complete, the AECL said last week.