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An Adams Publishing Group file photo shows company officials entering the headquarters of Beloit radioisotope producer and supplier NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes.

BELOIT

NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes announced Monday it was awarded $37 million from a federal agency to finish its neutron capture technology program and continue the development of its particle accelerator program.

The funding was awarded $37 million through the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

“NorthStar deeply appreciates these new cooperative agreement awards and this financial and technical support provided by DOE/NNSA,” NorthStar CEO Stephen Merrick said. “We are proud to be the first and only company to achieve commercialized Mo-99 (molybdenum-99) production through collaboration with DOE/NNSA to date.”

Both projects support the non-uranium-based production of molybdenum-99, a radioisotope used in a wide range of medical imaging tests in various capacities.

NorthStar is currently the only commercialized domestic producer of Mo-99 in the United States. It is almost into its third year of production and is looking to ensure sustainable domestic production through “dual production and processing hubs for additional capacity and scheduling flexibility,” the company’s funding announcement states.

Merrick said the federal funding would “more than double” production capacity.

Expansions at NorthStar in Beloit’s Gateway Business Park have been seemingly nonstop since 2018 when the company received its first Food and Drug Administration approval related to its Mo-99 development and production.

In April, the company received two electron beam particle accelerators in its effort to bolster production, and Merrick said Monday the accelerator production facility was now complete and being “fitted out with advanced production equipment.”

The electron beam accelerators, each weighing 24 tons, were custom-built in Belgium for NorthStar.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science.

Earlier this summer, Janesville’s SHINE Medical Technologies also received a financial boost with a $150 million investment that bundled money from several sources, including a Koch Industries subsidiary and an early backer of automaker Tesla.

SHINE CEO Greg Piefer said that money will allow his company to quickly ramp up production of medical radioisotopes, including Mo-99, once it begins. SHINE hopes to begin production in Janesville next year.

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