ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., May 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Eden Radioisotopes, LLC, an Albuquerque, NM startup company, is pleased to announce an investment agreement with Abo Empire, LLC, a Yates Family company. This investment funds the company project to build a reactor of less than 2MW in New Mexico for the purpose of producing medical isotopes, primarily Molybdenum-99. Known as Moly-99 for short, this isotope is a critical raw material for Technetium-99m, used extensively in medical molecular imaging, also known as nuclear medicine, around the world.
"We're thrilled to back the Eden team in their mission to provide the world with a dependable supply of Moly-99," says Ryan Price, Vice President of Abo Empire. "This project checks many boxes for us: it diversifies family investment through the economic development of the State of New Mexico, creates high-paying, highly technical jobs for our youth to grow into, and does a lot of good for a lot of people."
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"Molecular Imaging is a $4 billion a year global market," says Chris Wagner, Eden's Chief Operating Officer and former Vice President at both Nordion and Mallinckrodt (n/k/a Curium). "There are 40 million diagnostic molecular imaging procedures performed worldwide each year, of which 80 percent use Technetium-99m, with 90 percent of those being either cardiac or cancer-related. While the imaging procedures performed in the United States represent more than half of the global use of Moly-99, there is no domestic supplier and no readily available alternative for molecular imaging. Reliability of Moly-99 supply is vitally important to US healthcare."
Moly-99 is used by radiopharmaceutical manufacturers worldwide to produce Molybdenum-99/Technetium-99m Generators, which are then shipped to hospitals, clinics, and radiopharmacies. As Moly-99 decays to Technetium-99m, it is then used to make individual patient doses for a variety of diagnostic imaging procedures.
For the past 20 years, the global supply of Moly-99 has been precarious at best. Only five reactors around the world have borne primary responsibility for Moly-99 production; in Canada, The Netherlands, South Africa, Belgium, and Australia. Due to age, these reactors have experienced numerous unplanned outages for repairs, causing shortages and price spikes. The Canadian reactor has already begun the decommissioning process, while the Dutch reactor is almost 60 years old and could soon be reaching the end of its useful life. "Together they represent more than 60 percent of the global supply capacity of Moly-99. With the Canadian reactor now offline, should The Netherlands reactor ever incur a long-term outage before sufficient new replacement capacity becomes available, the molecular imaging industry could experience challenging global supply shortages," says Wagner.