Medical Isotopes - Advancing new Frontiers in Healthcare

Focus
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Medical Isotopes

A solution to looming medical isotope supply chain issues.

  • Allows for the enrichment of isotopes with a low atomic mass (<100 amu). These isotopes do not lend themselves well to being separated or enriched in a large-scale centrifuge
  • Allows for enrichment at a small scale, which results in a smaller footprint and considerably lower capital cost. Consequently, the process is suited to the enrichment of low volume, high value isotopes for use in specialized environments
  • Is modular, which allows for inexpensive and quick capacity increases as demand dictates
  • Uses a similar amount of energy compared to laser enabled approaches
  • The only moving part in the entire ASP process are the compressor rotors

High value

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Low volume

Current market dynamics

Technetium-99m

Tc-99m is the most widely used imaging agent globally due to its versatility. The molecule is used in approximately 80% of nuclear diagnostic imaging procedures, or about 40,000 medical procedures in the United States every day, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Tc-99m is a particularly useful imaging radionuclide because it:

  • Can be chemically incorporated into radio-pharmaceuticals that have affinities for different tissue and organ systems
  • Has a sufficiently long half-life (~6 hours) to be functional in nuclear medicine procedures
  • Emits energetic gamma rays (140 kilo electron volts, keV) that can be detected efficiently with widely available camera technologies
  • Can be supplied efficiently to hospitals and clinics using technetium generators
  • Provides low patient doses for some procedures due to its short half-life and lack of alpha or beta radiations

Tc-99m

Supply chain issues

Producers of Molybdenum-99 are few and widespread.

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Tc-99m is produced from the radiological decay of Molybdenum-99, which is usually created commercially by the fission of highly enriched uranium in a small number of research and material testing nuclear reactors in several countries.

Molybdenum-99 has a short half-life.

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Molybdenum-99 has a half-life of just 66 hours adding to the supply side challenge. The activity of Mo-99 declines by about 1% per hour because of radioactive decay. It must be moved through the supply chain quickly to minimize decay losses.

Security of supply under constant strain.

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Security of the supply of both Mo-99 and Tc-99, being time critical, is under constant strain, often due to interruption or breakdown of this supply chain with serious implications for hospitals and their patients.

Current reactors are aging.

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Many of the reactors that currently produce Mo-99 are over 50 years old and risk being shut down over the next 10 – 20 years.

Mo-100

Technetium-99m can also be produced from Mo-100

Highly enriched Mo-100 can be converted into Tc-99m either using a Cyclotron or a Linear Accelerator (LINAC). Mo-100 is stable, does not decay and can therefore be stored indefinitely, removing much of the current supply side issues.

Cyclotrons are available in large hospitals or radio-pharmacies. The stable Mo-100 isotope is bombarded by hydrogen nuclei (a single proton). Tc-99m and two neutrons are released.

Diagram

Mo-100

WE ARE CONSTRUCTING A MULTI-ISOTOPE ENRICHMENT FACILITY

  • The plant will initially have a capacity of 5 Kg/ year, which can be expanded to 20 Kg/ year
  • A major advantage of  ASP’s technology is that it is modular, so it can increase the capacity of a plant as additional identical modules are inserted into the system. This uniformity also allows efficient component replacement in the case of maintenance or component failure and reduces downtime
  • We expect commissioning in mid-2024 and production in 2H 2024