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In an August 2017 Gazette file photo, SHINE Medical Technologies CEO Greg Piefer laughs with former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan before a ceremonial groundbreaking of SHINE’s nuclear particle accelerator testing and demonstration facility in Janesville. SHINE on Monday announced that Ryan, a Janesville native, will join its board of directors.

JANESVILLE

Paul Ryan has been appointed to SHINE Medical Technologies’ board of directors, SHINE officials said.

Janesville-based molybdenum-99 producer SHINE announced the appointment of the Janesville native and former U.S. House Speaker in a news release Monday.

SHINE this spring launched construction of a moly-99 production facility on Janesville’s south end. SHINE now is in a lengthy process of getting federal nuclear approval for an operating license, but SHINE officials believe the company is on pace to begin commercial production sometime in 2022.

The company employs nuclear particle accelerator technology that it believes could be used to create other medical isotopes in addition to moly-99.

Moly-99 is a radioactive compound used to light up bone and body tissue in common medical tests.

SHINE CEO Greg Piefer said Ryan’s two decades in Congress have given him experience in handling international health care, business and energy policies—and that experience makes Ryan a valued asset.

In a statement Monday, Piefer called Ryan a “visionary.”

“Paul will provide critical guidance to SHINE as we expand into domestic and international markets that require deep mastery of global policy, economics and leadership,” Piefer said.

The appointment is the latest news about Ryan’s activities since he announced in 2018 he wouldn’t run again for Congress.

Last week, media reports said Ryan and his family were moving to suburban Washington, D.C., on a temporary basis.

Ryan earlier this year joined the board of directors for Fox’s television holdings, including its cable news organization, and he funneled $7 million from his political accounts to the American Idea Foundation, a Janesville-based nonprofit he established.

SHINE officials said the Janesville company could meet a significant portion of the global demand for moly-99, which would help the U.S. medical industry meet demand for the testing compound.

Now, the material is in short supply because it’s made using aging, foreign nuclear reactors that are routinely shut down for maintenance. It’s needed daily in the U.S. for critical health screenings such as heart stress tests.

Ryan has said publicly that his father, grandfather and great-grandfather all died of heart attacks.

In a statement, Ryan said he believes SHINE is “uniquely equipped to create a reliable global supply of lifesaving medical isotopes,” and he said his involvement on the board would “help the company continue to grow.”

SHINE officials announced earlier this year that they plan to build a European facility that will give the company extra standby capacity.

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