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Diane Hendricks, left, and NorthStar CEO Stephen Merrick break ground on the company’s future therapeutic radioisotope production facility at the Beloit headquarters on Thursday.

BELOIT

NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes is once again celebrating major milestones as the company heralded the completion of major projects and hosted a groundbreaking Thursday for the next step in the company’s vision for the future.

Company staff and state and local officials gathered to mark the completion of NorthStar’s isotope processing facility and the installation of cutting-edge radioisotope processing and production equipment.

NorthStar has seen a meteoric rise in growth in recent years, with the company netting its foundational Food and Drug Administration approval early in 2018, which preceded successive years of facility expansions and increased staffing. In 2019, the company started construction on a facility to house two particle accelerators key to the company’s future production process. A total of 270 people now work for NorthStar.

In April, the company celebrated receiving both electron beam particle accelerators that are now housed in the completed accelerator production facility.

CEO Stephen Merrick and Beloit businesswoman Diane Hendricks, who has been a major supporter of the company for years, christened parts of each building with Champagne to mark their completion. Both facilities now must receive FDA approval before production can occur in Beloit. Currently, NorthStar partners with the University of Missouri Research Reactor Center in Columbia, Missouri, for production of key radioisotopes.

Merrick said the company could see more FDA approvals in late 2022.

“We’ve seen absolutely amazing progress,” Merrick said. “We are going to continue this rate of progress and we look forward to future FDA approval.”

Hendricks called NorthStar’s growth “an incredible journey” to bring innovation and new-age industry to Beloit.

“It is amazing that this is happening here in Beloit, Wisconsin,” Hendricks said. “This shows that here in Wisconsin we can establish these types of businesses thanks to the great pool of employees that we have and the vibrant industrial support and infrastructure that exists in the city. The benefit of advanced technology businesses are significant.”

Beloit City Manager Lori Curtis Luther said the company’s research is vital to Beloit and beyond.

“Just as we are proud of the diversity of Beloit, we are proud of the diversity of our businesses growing in Beloit,” Luther said. “We can’t wait to see what NorthStar has in store for us next.”

Thursday’s groundbreaking of the new therapeutic radioisotope production facility represents the fourth building expansion on the Beloit headquarters at 1800 Gateway Blvd. The new processing facility is expected to more than double production capacity for the diagnostic imaging radioisotope molybdenum 99.

NorthStar also plans commercial-scale production of therapeutic radioisotopes copper 67 and actinium 225 in the first-of-their-kind accelerator production and therapeutic radioisotope production facilities.

Production at NorthStar has been online for nearly three years, making the company the first domestic supplier of Mo-99 in more than 30 years.

To date, more than 850,000 patients received key medical insights thanks to the NorthStar radioisotopes used in medical imaging tests. The company expects to top the 1 million patient mark by the end of this year.

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