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NorthStar and GE enter partnership around I-123 development

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | August 11, 2021
Business Affairs Molecular Imaging
GE Healthcare and NorthStar have partnered together on the development of Iodine-123 capsules for the diagnosis of thyroid conditions like thyroid cancer
GE Healthcare’s Pharmaceutical diagnostic unit will assist in the development and distribution of Iodine-123 (I-123) for NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes to help in the diagnosis of thyroid cancer.

The company will manufacture and supply NorthStar with I-123 capsules using a new, state-of-the-art production system at its facility in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Following regulatory approvals, NorthStar will oversee distribution of the capsules, which will be used in nuclear medical procedures to diagnose physiological abnormalities in the thyroid.

"NorthStar is confident this investment and exclusive agreement with GE Healthcare will provide radiopharmacies with a well-needed alternative supplier of I-123 capsules," Stephen Merrick, president and chief executive officer of NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, told HCB News.

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I-123 is a radioisotope of iodine, which is routinely used in nuclear medicine as the proven standard for the diagnosis of physiological abnormalities in the thyroid, including thyroid cancer. The capsules will be available in 100µCi and 200µCi formulations.

The agreement follows another supply agreement entered into by NorthStar and Clarity Pharmaceuticals for the therapeutic radioisotope, Copper-67. A beta-emitting radioisotope, Cu-67 is used clinically to directly target and deliver therapeutic doses of radiation to destroy cancer cells in patients with serious disease, such as pediatric neuroblastoma and prostate and breast cancers. It will be used as an active pharmaceutical ingredient to support Clarity’s Targeted Copper Theranostics (TCT) programs.

It also recently installed two new particle accelerators designed by IBA for roughly $5 million at its Beloit factory in Wisconsin. These will help the company to produce a greater amount of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) to supply millions of medical procedures annually with enough technetium-99m (Tc-99m).

GE Healthcare has also worked to expand its nuclear medicine offerings. Back in May, it acquired Zionexa to help develop and bring to market its pipeline biomarkers, including its recently FDA-approved PET imaging agent, Cerianna. Cerianna is used as an adjunct to biopsy to detect estrogen receptor (ER) positive lesions, and can provide insights on which treatment plans may be best for a patient with recurrent or metastatic breast cancer.

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