Northwest Medical Isotopes, LLC today announced its plan to construct a Radioisotope Production Facility at Discovery Ridge Research Park, located in Columbia, Missouri. Discovery Ridge Research Park is owned by the University of Missouri System. The facility will be primarily used to produce molybdenum-‐99, which is used in medical scans for cancer, heart disease, and bone and kidney disease.
“The United States uses half of the global supply of molybdenum-‐99, yet we have no commercial domestic producers,” said CEO Nicholas Fowler. “The mission and vision of Northwest Medical Isotopes is to provide a domestic, secure, and reliable supply of molybdenum-‐99 for medical diagnostics. At full capacity, the proposed facility could supply half of North America’s needs for molybdenum-‐99, eliminating potential shortages of the medical isotopes and having a major impact on the health of thousands of patients in need of these medical tests each week.”
The United States faces potential supply shortages in the future as traditional sources of molybdenum-‐99 phase out operations. Hospitals use molybdenum-‐99 to create technetium-‐99m which is used in the diagnosis of heart disease, but is also used in bone scans, parathyroid scans, brain scans, neuroendocrine tumor scans, and white cell scans. During previous temporary shortages in supply, health care professionals were challenged to maintain their schedule of diagnostic procedures.
“Long term shortages of technetium-‐99m could have significant repercussions on thousands of patients,” said Larry Mullins, President and Chief Executive Officer at Samaritan Health Services. “We partnered with Oregon State University to seek answers to this problem.”
Rick Spinrad, vice president of Research for Oregon State University said OSU researchers responded with a cutting-‐edge discovery.
“University class research reactors had not been thought capable of producing commercial quantities of molybdenum-‐99, but a unique target design developed at Oregon State promises otherwise,” Spinrad said.
NWMI has licensed this novel technology.
“The NWMI technological advancements are very timely for responding to our national need for a domestic supply of this critical isotope,” said Milton Cheever, Managing Partner of Cheever Capital Management.
NWMI’s commercialization strategy is to utilize a network of university reactors around the United States to supply the radioisotope production facility in Columbia, MO for the extraction and purification of molybdenum-‐99. Isotopes produced from the proposed Discovery Ridge facility would be the same as the existing supply chain and would not require re-‐design of the molybdenum generator technology for the U.S. distributors.
“We have been talking about a potential disruption to our supply of molybdenum-‐99 for many years,” said Manoja Lecamwasam, Director of Intellectual Property at Dignity Health. “This is no longer an academic discussion. Our physicians are beginning to face real difficulty in delivering the diagnostic tests their patients need.”
Randall Bream, MD, from Samaritan Heart & Vascular Institute and Medical Director of Cardiovascular Services at Samaritan, agreed.
“It is absolutely essential that we have this material for our nuclear cardiac stress tests,” Bream said. “We have had to cancel tests because the material wasn’t available, so having a steady, reliable supply will greatly enhance our ability to provide potentially life-‐saving diagnoses.”
This was the case for John Nuslein, 66, of Albany, Ore., who was experiencing chest pain but traditional electrocardiograms and cardiac treadmill tests found nothing. It was only when his physician ordered a nuclear medicine pharmacological stress test that two blocked arteries were discovered in his heart. Since then, Nuslein has undergone multiple heart procedures, and nuclear cardiac stress tests have been the preferred tool for quickly, clearly and non-‐invasively locating the blockages in his arteries.
“I would have been dead if it had not been for nuclear stress testing,” Nuslein said. “There is no question in my mind that it would have gotten a lot more severe before they found anything.”
NWMI has notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of its intent to apply for a construction license. The Northwest Medical Isotopes radioisotope processing facility is an exciting announcement for Discovery Ridge. NWMI selected a site at Discovery Ridge due to its proximity to University of Missouri, efficient transportation logistics, and the region’s skilled labor. “We couldn’t be more pleased to be joining the business community of Columbia,” said Fowler.
ABOUT NORTHWEST MEDICAL ISOTOPES. Northwest Medical Isotopes, LLC was formed in 2010. Its mission is to assure a domestic, secure, and reliable source of molybdenum-‐99 for medical diagnostics. Contact: Nicholas Fowler, (541) 223-‐3112, email@example.com.
ABOUT SAMARITAN HEALTH SERVICES. Samaritan Health Services (SHS) is a founding member of NWMI. SHS is an Oregon based not-‐for-‐profit public benefit corporation that operates hospitals and ancillary care facilities in the mid-‐Willamette Valley of Oregon and central Oregon Coast. Contact: Julie Manning, (541) 768-‐5172 , firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY. Oregon State University is a founding member of NWMI. Oregon’s leading public research university, with $263 million in external funding in the 2013 fiscal year, Oregon State’s impact reaches across the state and beyond. Contact: Steve Clark, (541) 737-‐ 3808, email@example.com.
ABOUT DIGNITY HEALTH. San Francisco-based Dignity Health is a major investor in NWMI. Dignity Health is one of the five largest health systems in the nation. It operates hospitals and ancillary care facilities in 21 states. Contact: Lauren Davis, (415) 438-‐5650, firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT DISCOVERY RIDGE. Discovery Ridge Research Park is a 550-‐acre master planned development focused on new technologies and University of Missouri relationships located in Columbia on State Highway 63 south of Interstate 70. Contact: Stephan Lauzier, (573) 882-‐6756, email@example.com.
ABOUT TALENTS ISOTOPES FUNDS. Cheever Capital Management is the general partner of the Talents Isotopes Funds, a major investor in NWMI. Contact: Milton Cheever, (541) 791-‐7200, firstname.lastname@example.org.