NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes is expanding with plans to construct a new building at its campus in the Gateway Business Park.
The Beloit City Council on May 2 approved a master land use plan submitted by NorthStar. The company said it plans to produce the isotope actinium-225 in the new 28,000-square-foot facility at 1800 Gateway Blvd., where construction has begun.
Stephen Merrick, president and chief executive officer for NorthStar, expects the facility to be up and running in late 2023 and was initially planned as far back as 2020.
“Our construction projects are highly specialized and require long-range planning,” Merrick said in a news release.
Actinium-225 can attach to molecules that can home in on cancer cells. In clinical trials treating late-stage prostate cancer patients, actinium-225 wiped out the cancer in three treatments, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Energy.
“Clinical research and commercial use of Ac-225 are severely constrained by chronic short supply due to limitations of current production technology,” Merrick noted in the release. “This new facility and technology are designed to alleviate that situation.”
This new building will be built on land already owned by NorthStar, according to Sarah Lock, the city of Beloit’s director of strategic communications.
The city’s reclassification of the NorthStar property as a planned unit development will allow for additional standalone buildings to go up on the campus, Merrick said.
This approval authorizes the construction of up to three standalone buildings, according to a city report.
This includes the Ac-225 production facility and two “additions” to the accelerator production facility that was added in 2020, according to city documents.
“The next step that will involve the city will include site plan review by staff and the permitting process,” Lock noted.
The expansion of the buildings and expanded technology has opened up more jobs, Merrick said.
“NorthStar currently employs 275 people, and we expect that number to exceed 300 by the end of 2022,” he said.
The NorthStar Beloit facility started initial construction in the Gateway Business Park in 2014.
In April 2021, NorthStar received two electron beam accelerators, each valued at about $5 million, to be used to produce radioisotopes for shipment to customers in January 2023.