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Sotera Health's Nordion closes sale of medical isotopes business to BWX Technologies

by Thomas Dworetzky , Contributing Reporter
Sotera Health has closed its previously-announced sale of Nordion's medical isotopes business to BWX Technologies.

"We are seeing significant growth and new business opportunities for gamma technologies, especially in the exciting new therapeutic applications that are emerging for medical cobalt-60," said Michael Petras, chief executive officer of Sotera Health.

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This sale will let Nordion focus “its full attention on accelerating growth in gamma technologies,” he said in a statement.

The deal gives BWXT Nordion assets including radiochemical and contract manufacturing operations in Kanata, Ontario, and the Vancouver, British Columbia isotope production facility. About 150 employees will be transferred in the deal.

“We are extremely pleased to complete this strategic acquisition,” Rex D. Geveden, BWXT’s president and chief executive officer said in a statement. “With Nordion’s medical isotopes business, we inherit a growing portfolio of radioisotope products. Equally important, we will employ the Nordion medical isotopes team, infrastructural assets and channels to market, to launch our previously announced Mo-99 product line and a number of future radioisotope-based imaging and therapeutic products.”

Tom Burnett, vice president and general manager of BWXT ITG Canada, will lead BWXT’s medical isotopes business. That business will be part of BWXT’s Nuclear Power Group segment, led by John MacQuarrie, president of BWXT Canada.

Nordion will keep its gamma technologies business and its licensed facility in Kanata, with the companies agreeing to a long-term lease deal to let BWXT keep operating from Kanata.

When the deal was announced in April, Dr. Jonathan Cirtain, VP of advanced technologies at BWXT, told HCB News, “We have plans to enter the medical radioisotope market with a new, innovative technology,” adding, “so we feel this is the right time for this acquisition, because we anticipate it will streamline our entry into the industry while mitigating schedule and expense risks associated with new facility construction.”

After closing the deal, BWXT anticipates that it will be able to reduce capital expenditures by about $100 million before acquisition costs. The company expects capital expenditures of approximately $150 million this year.

According to BWXT, this acquisition “accelerates and de-risks” its entry into the medical radioisotope market.

“Anytime a company enters a new business line, certain risks have to be addressed,” said Cirtain. “[The acquisition] adds highly trained personnel, world-class licensed facility assets and decades of experience in the commercial production of radiochemicals and radiopharmaceuticals to BWXT – all of that lowers the risks associated with developing those assets ourselves.

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