Tuesday, June 19, 2012
By Mike Flaherty
BOSTON -- The fledgling company created to manufacture radioactive isotopes for medical imaging could be producing up to half of the United States' medical imaging materials at its proposed manufacturing plant near Janesville within four years, the company’s CEO told an audience here today.
SHINE Medical Technologies CEO Greg Piefer and Rock Mackie, scientific director for medical devices at the Morgridge Institute for Research, told a small group of potential investors at BIO that the company's new technology will produce radioactive materials for medical imaging “faster, safer and cheaper’’ and that its proposed Janesville plant could be up and running by 2016.
SHINE is currently seeking a second round of investors -- and is awaiting approval by the federal government for its technology, which uses a particle accelerator to produce the materials instead of relying on extracting them from aging nuclear plants in Canada, the Netherlands and South Africa.
Several of those nuclear plants are 50 years old and close to being permanently shut down, so the supply of this radioactive material, called molybdenum-99, will be limited, Piefer said. In only a few years, the world could see severe shortages of the imaging material as has happened in the past when some of the reactors were closed for repair, he added.
“This is a potential $600 million a year market,’’ Piefer said. The product is in high demand, the profit margins for the product is relatively high, and SHINE has a way to produce the material safely and efficiently.