Orano Med (a subsidiary of the Orano Group) has laid the foundation stone for its ATLab (Alpha Therapy Laboratory) in Onnaing, France. This will be Europe's first industrial-scale pharmaceutical facility dedicated to the production of lead-212 (Pb-212) based radioligand therapies.
Targeted Alpha Therapy with lead-212 combines the natural ability of biological molecules to target cancer cells with the short-range cell-killing capabilities of lead-212 generated alpha emissions. Development of these therapies has been held back by the lack of facilities to manufacture on an industrial scale. Orano Med's ATLab Valenciennes will help to make these new treatments more readily available.
The €29m ($31m) ATLab Valenciennes, with over 3,000 square metres of floor space will focus on the production of lead-212 therapies developed by Orano Med and their distribution in Europe. Orano Med also plans to inaugurate a similar facility later this year in Indianapolis to serve the US market.
This combined capacity will enable Orano Med to manufacture 10,000 doses a year by 2025, with the aim of producing ten times more by the end of the decade. Given the short half-life of lead-212 (10.6 hours), the drugs need to be produced close to hospitals. The construction of further ATLabs is therefore envisaged to meet patients' needs worldwide.
Guillaume Dureau, Orano Group's Senior Executive Vice-President Projects & Innovation R&D & Nuclear Medicine, commented: "The ATLab in Onnaing is a very important step in our development strategy …. The expansion of our production capacity in the radiopharmaceutical field is part of a drive to revitalise our country’s industrial and economic fabric."
The construction of ATLab Valenciennes is supported by the Hauts de France region and the Valenciennes metropolitan area. The project has also been selected under the France 2030 plan following the call for "Industrialisation and health capacities 2030" projects and will receive public support of almost €3.8m.
Orano Med CEO Julien Dodet is convinced that radioligand therapies will soon become an essential tool in the fight against cancer. “As the Phase II clinical trial of our most advanced drug AlphaMedix nears completion, we are building a global industrial platform to ensure the large-scale production and distribution of these potential treatments."
Image: The groundbreaking ceremony for the ATLab facility in Onnaing, France (courtesy of Orano Med)