After Deal Stalled, Shine Medical Eyeing Up to $160M from Deerfield
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that the U.S. accounts for about half of global consumption of the isotope.
Moreover, importing radioisotopes from overseas can sometimes turn into a race against the clock. Molybdenum-99 has a half-life of 66 hours, meaning about 1 percent of finished product is lost each hour.
Last month, the National Nuclear Security Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Energy, recognized NorthStar as the first domestic producer of molybdenum-99 in nearly 30 years, the company said. Currently, NorthStar is producing isotopes using a nuclear reactor in Columbia, MO, as part of a collaboration between the company and the University of Missouri Research Reactor. NorthStar’s long-term vision is to produce molybdenum-99—as well as a device for decaying it into technetium-99m, which the FDA approved in February—in Wisconsin.
While NorthStar appears to have beat out Shine in the effort to resume domestic production of molybdenum-99, that doesn’t mean NorthStar has the market cornered. NorthStar has said that by February 2019, it “could supply as much as 10 percent” of the molybdenum-99 and technetium-99m used by U.S. healthcare providers. That may indicate that Shine is not out of the running to become a leading supplier of the isotopes over the long haul.
Shine, which is still pre-revenue, could get a boost on the path toward commercialization if it lands the investment from Deerfield.
Piefer and Todd Asmuth, Shine’s president, wrote in the e-mail to shareholders in September that the company plans to use the money from Deerfield “to finance the construction and startup of our medical isotope facility in Janesville.”
In 2016, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission authorized the issuance of a construction permit to Shine to build a full-scale production plant near its headquarters. Shine reportedly expects to begin building the facility in early 2019, and start making molybdenum-99 there in 2021.
In February, Shine said it completed construction on a prototype production facility, where it plans to test its technology. The 11,400-square-foot facility is located near the site where Shine plans to build the larger, 57,000-square-foot plant. Last month, Shine said it had installed a key piece of equipment in the smaller facility, which it would use to perform some of the tests and demonstrations on which parts of the potential Deerfield investment would hinge.