Shine Medical Awarded $10M by Federal Nuclear Security Agency
Shine Medical Technologies, which has for years been working to resume domestic production of a crucial medical isotope, says it has been awarded $10 million in funding from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), part of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Janesville, WI-based Shine received the funding through a program the NNSA created in 2010—the same year Shine was incorporated—aimed at spurring production of molybdenum-99 in the U.S. That isotope is in turn used to produce technetium-99m, the most widely used radioisotope in medical diagnostic imaging. Shine has now received a total of $25 million through the NNSA’s molybdenum-99 program, according to a news release.
It’s been more than 20 years since molybdenum-99 was last manufactured domestically. In recent years, Shine and some of its competitors have been racing to start producing the isotope as the threat of a potential shortage looms. A key producer in Canada stopped making molybdenum-99 in October, and that reactor is scheduled to shut down in 2018, The Globe and Mail reported.
Shine says that some of the latest funding will help support the design and construction of a manufacturing facility near its headquarters that the company received a permit to build in February. Shine also plans to use some of the money to expand its engineering and business development teams, according to a Janesville Gazette report.
In September, Shine announced it was moving to Janesville. The company was previously based in Monona, WI, about 40 miles northwest of Janesville.
Katrina Pitas, Shine’s vice president of business development, says via e-mail that her company plans to break ground on the 57,000-square-foot facility in early 2017, and reach full commercial production there by 2019.
“We are grateful to the…NNSA for its financial and technical support through the construction permit approval process, and for its continued commitment to Shine as we take the next steps toward securing access to isotopes critical to the accurate diagnosis of disease,” says Shine co-founder and CEO Greg Piefer, in a prepared statement. “The ongoing partnership will help ensure the timely start up of our production facility, a national asset that will provide life-saving materials for a billion people over its lifetime.”
Shine has signed supply agreements with a number of large companies, including GE Healthcare, Lantheus Medical Imaging (NASDAQ: LNTH), and HTA Co., a China-based producer of and distributor of radio-pharmaceuticals.