Janesville-based nuclear technology company SHINE Medical Technologies said Wednesday it has begun selling a therapeutic isotope it produces that’s used to treat cancers.
SHINE recently announced it made its first commercial sales of lutetium-177, or Lu-177, to multiple customers. In addition to neuroendocrine cancers, the isotope can be used to treat metastatic prostate and other cancers, the company stated.
SHINE is producing the isotope on its production campus in Janesville. Once a large-scale facility built solely for the production of Lu-177 is completed, the company says it will be capable of producing more than 300,000 doses of the isotope per year.
“This milestone is really exciting, as Lu-177 is effectively a smart bomb for certain types of cancer,” said Greg Piefer, the founder and CEO of SHINE Medical, in a statement. “The ability to target metastatic cancer with very high precision can give hope of survival to patients who previously have had no real options. We’re enthusiastic about bringing our core competencies to this market, and believe we’ll play a major role in ensuring patients worldwide will have access to this very important isotope.”
SHINE is also building a facility in Janesville for its production of molybdenum-99, or Mo-99, which decays into technetium‑99m, a radioisotope used in more than 40 million medical imaging procedures each year. The Janesville facility is expected to be completed in 2021 with commercial-scale isotope production starting in 2022. SHINE has Mo-99 supply agreements with Chicago-based GE Healthcare and North Billerica, Massachusetts-based Lantheus Medical Imaging.
Piefer also is founder and former president of Monona-based Phoenix Nuclear Labs, a sister company to SHINE that makes Piefer’s design of a neutron generator. The technology to produce Lu-177 was developed through a partnership with the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Nuclear Physics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, both in the Czech Republic.
SHINE created its therapeutics division in 2019. Since being founded in 2010, SHINE has raised roughly $300 million in capital.