As SHINE Medical Technologies builds a plant in Janesville aimed at producing radioactive medical isotopes by 2022, the company is working with a partner in Europe to make medicines that fight cancer.
SHINE along with researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry in Prague have produced “patient doses” of cancer drug lutetium-177 that were certified for purity by third-party tests, SHINE announced this week in a news release.
Lutetium-177, also known as Lu-177, is a radioactive isotope used to treat stomach and lung cancers that SHINE says shows “promise” in treating cancers that have spread.
SHINE and Czech researchers produced Lu-177 in Prague under an agreement that allowed SHINE “exclusive access” to Czech equipment, according to SHINE’s announcement.
SHINE is building a 45,000-square-foot facility in Janesville that will produce isotopes including molybdenum-99, a radioactive material that illuminates bone and tissue in thousands of medical tests daily.
At a groundbreaking ceremony for the Janesville plant in May 2019, officials said SHINE also seeks to produce cancer-treating isotopes.
Rod Hise, a SHINE spokesman, said he couldn’t give details of where and when SHINE might produce Lu-177, but he said SHINE still plans to begin commercial production of moly-99 in Janesville in 2022.
That’s the same timetable the company gave at the Janesville groundbreaking last year.
Hise said the timeline for commercial Lu-177 is “independent” from plans for moly-99 production in Janesville.
But he called Lu-177 “a significant part of SHINE’s future and we see a place in Janesville for this vital isotope.”