New Industry Partnership will Secure Manufacturing of Radioisotopes for Medical Use in Europe

New Industry Partnership will Secure Manufacturing of Radioisotopes for Medical Use in Europe
 
Gif-sur-Yvette, France, September 2, 2010 - CEA (The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission), IRE (National Institute for Radioelements, Belgium) and IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A., Belgium), three major industrials in the sector of manufacturing radioisotopes for medical examinations in Europe, today signed an agreement to secure the supply of Technetium (Tc-99m) beyond 2015.  This agreement enables the companies to respond to European needs in medical exams, currently estimated at eight million exams per year.
 
The supply of Tc-99m represents a major challenge in public health.  This radioisotope is used in 80 percent of imaging scans performed in Europe. Its mother radioisotope Molybdenum (Mo-99) is manufactured in nuclear reactors worldwide whose numbers are steadily on the decline.  The main reactors that manufacture Mo-99 are nearing the end of their lifecycle and, since 2008, have shown an increase in manufacturing problems that has led to several difficult periods.  Any stoppage in Mo-99 production affects the availability of products used by specialists for patient exams, reducing the number of scans and, in turn, resulting in fewer diagnoses for treating serious illnesses.
 
In order to secure supplies for European hospitals, IBA and IRE, the main suppliers of Tc-99m and Mo-99 generators, and CEA, which operates research reactors that manufacture radioisotopes for medical use, initiated this strategic partnership.
 
This initiative combines the technological skills and know-how of each company to cover the entire radioisotope manufacturing and distribution chain:
 
-          CEA will guarantee the irradiation of uranium targets in reactors
-          IRE will extract Mo-99 and deliver it to distributors of Tc-99m generators
-          IBA/CIS bio, using Mo-99, will manufacture and distribute Tc-99m generators for hospitals
 
The partnership will rely on the following equipment that has recently been put into operation, or is still under development by the three companies:
 
-          necessary irradiation equipment at CEA's new reactor, RJH, currently under construction in Cadarache, France
-          major renovations at IRE's manufacturing facility in Fleurus, Belgium
-          IBA/Cis bio's new generator manufacturing lines in Saclay, France
 
"This agreement will enable us to limit the important uncertainty surrounding the supply of Tc-99m.  For IBA, any advances in molecular imaging start with securing the sector's supply chain.  Thanks to this agreement between CEA, IRE and IBA, molecular imaging will continue to develop and demonstrate its full potential not only for specialists, but also for patients," said Renaud Dehareng, COO, IBA Molecular.
 
"This is positive news for global healthcare, as this will ensure a new and welcomed supply source given the current shortage," added Jean-Michel Vanderhofstadt, managing director of IRE.  "This partnership confirms IRE as one of the key actors in nuclear medicine in the world today.  IRE manufactures approximately 30 percent of the world's Molybdenum-99 and now supplies radioisotopes worldwide.  In addition to these commercial developments, we will continue to invest in safety which remains our main priority."
 
The three companies will work in the coming months on the technical specifications of RJH reactor's irradiation systems, with the goal of beginning Mo-99 manufacturing as soon as it is operational, planned for 2015.
 
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About IBA Molecular and IBA group
IBA Molecular is global developer, manufacturer and distributor of radiopharmaceutical products and supporting services used in molecular imaging.  With radiopharmaceutical discovery-to-delivery development capabilities that address indications in oncology, cardiology and neurology, in PET, SPECT and therapy, IBA Molecular has engineered a strong and unique product portfolio and pipeline of diagnostic tracers aimed at contributing to the development of the global trend towards personalized medicine and making molecular imaging a major discipline in healthcare.  The company also provides educational, technical and marketing support to medical specialists worldwide to help better respond to patient needs.  IBA Molecular was awarded Frost & Sullivan's European Radiopharmaceuticals Technology Leadership of the Year prize in 2010.  Headquartered in Gif-sur-Yvette, France, IBA Molecular is a member of the Belgium-based IBA group.  IBA develops and markets leading edge technologies, pharmaceuticals and tailor-made solutions for healthcare with a focus on cancer diagnosis and therapy. Leveraging on its scientific expertise, IBA is also active in the field of industrial sterilization and ionization. Listed on the pan-European stock exchange EURONEXT, IBA is included in the BelMid Index. (IBA: Reuters IBAB.BR and Bloomberg IBAB.BB).
 
About the IRE:
Located in Fleurus, the Institute for Radioelements (IRE) is a public utility foundation that was created in 1971 to use nuclear technologies to improve public health and environmental control.  The IRE is the second largest producer worldwide of radionuclides for use in nuclear medicine and exports its products throughout the world. The Institute produces radionuclides used both for imaging (early screening for malignant tumors, analysis of organ malfunction) and therapies (cancer treatment). It is also involved in the continuous radiological monitoring of the Belgian territory.  The IRE helps to improve the health and save the lives of millions of individuals throughout the world every year.  For more information please visit www.ire.eu
 
About CEA
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) is a public technological research organization working in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. 
Building on excellence in fundamental research and on recognized expertise, the CEA takes part in organizing cooperation projects with a wide range of academic and industrial partners. With its 16,000 researchers and employees, it is a major player in European research and is also expanding its international presence.
More information on www.cea.fr
 
Media contacts :
CEA : Patrick Cappe de Baillon - Tel : +33-1 64 50 76 49 - [email protected]
IRE : Grégory Delécaut - Tel : +32-71.82.93.87- [email protected]
IBA : Aline Dubucq / Christina Aplington - Tel : +33-1 42 22 24 10 - [email protected] / [email protected]

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