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Canadian government investing over $26 million into medical isotope pan-consortium

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | July 03, 2023
Business Affairs Molecular Imaging
Canada's government will invest CA$35 million over the next five years into producing medical isotopes.
Over the next five years, Canada’s government will invest CA$35 million ($26.6 million) into producing medical isotopes at its accelerators and nuclear reactors to be distributed worldwide for use in cancer diagnostics and treatment.

Through a multi-collaborative partnership, the Trudeau administration will create a pan-consortium called the Canadian Medical Isotope Ecosystem (CMIE), alongside the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) and Bruce Power, Canada’s only private sector nuclear generator.

CMIE will facilitate collaborations with Bruce Power and other companies in Ontario’s nuclear industry, including BWXT Medical, McMaster University, and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, to create more technologies and advance production in the medical isotope industry.
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For its part, Bruce Power, which supplies 30% of the province’s power, will use the funding and work together with SON to accelerate production and commercialization of lutetium-177, a therapeutic radioisotope used to treat neuroendocrine tumors and metastatic prostate cancers, and other isotopes, as well as create more financial opportunities for members of SON.

“This investment will not only grow the economy, as the ecosystem is expected to attract over $75 million in investment, and create or maintain over 600 highly skilled, well-paying jobs, but also contribute to economic reconciliation with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation,” said Pam Damoff, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and the Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington, in a statement.

In 2019, Bruce Power teamed up with SON to market current and new isotopes produced with its Isotope Production System, which was installed in 2022. The IPS, designed by Isogen, irradiates ytterbium-176 to produce lutetium-177. Bruce Power then transports the supply to ITM’s manufacturing facility in Germany, which processes pharmaceutical-grade, non-carrier-added lutetium-177 for distribution to providers worldwide.

"We will be expanding production [of Lutetium-177] to double it by 2024-2025," Bruce Power chief executive Michael Rencheck told Reuters.

The Innovation, Science, and Economic Development’s Strategic Innovation Fund, which invests in projects to help grow Canada’s economy, facilitated the funding.

The Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization and TRIUMF Innovations will oversee management of CMIE.

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