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US-based TerraPower Isotopes and PanTera, the Belgian joint venture created by SCK-CEN and IBA, have launched a strategic collaboration intended to increase the availability of Actinium-225, a radioisotope used to target and treat cancer.

TerraPower Isotopes extracts Actinium-225 through a natural decay method from Thorium-229, while PanTera utilises a “Gamma route” method based on Rhodotron and Radium-226. The two companies plan to use both methods going forward.

Scott Claunch, President of TerraPower Isotopes said demand for Actinium-225 is expected to increase as more radiopharmaceutical treatments based on it are developed to treat a range of cancers. “This collaboration will help us supply this valuable material to the pharmaceutical industry and meet the growing global demand,” he said.

Since 2018, TerraPower has been working through a public-private partnership to increase supply of Actinium-225 from Thorium-229 decay, derived from legacy US nuclear material. Actinium-225 is an alpha-emitting radionuclide that through further manufacturing can be attached to a targeting molecule, which will then selectively target and destroy cancerous tissue. TerraPower Isotopes says it aims to increase the supply of Actinium-225 by 75-100 times and the collaboration with PanTera will accelerate this development. However, TerraPower Isotopes produced Actinium-225 is intended to be used as a starting material for further manufacturing processes and, as such, is not manufactured in accordance with current good manufacturing practices.

PanTera CEO Sven Van den Berghe welcomed the collaboration with TerraPower Isotopes to increase the market availability of Actinium-225. “While continuing to prepare our unique technology for large scale production of Actinium-225, we will also offer, as from 2024, the radioisotope to drug developers for their research and clinical trials, as well as for physicians for compassionate use.” He added that this volume “would be equivalent to 50% of today’s supply and underpin the wider development of these targeted alpha therapy radiopharmaceuticals as an effective treatment modality for cancer”.

Image courtesy of SCK-CEN

Date: Saturday, 01 July 2023
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