German-based radiopharmaceutical biotech company ITM Isotope Technologies Munich and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories are launching a new joint venture company for the industrial-scale production of actinium-225, which is used in targeted alpha therapies to fight cancer. The new company is being called Actineer.
Under terms of the agreement, Actineer will in the short term boost international supplies of Ac-225 by developing production and processing methods for the interim production of the medical isotope, while working long-term toward the construction of a new actinium production facility (APF).
More details: ITM and CNL, which manages and operates Ontario’s Chalk River Laboratories on behalf of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, will also collaborate on the development and implementation of the manufacturing process to be used at the new production facility.
CNL will provide the starting material for irradiation and initially will manage the production process of radiochemical-grade Ac-225, while ITM will further process the resulting isotope to pharmaceutical grade under quality assurance specifications. ITM will also be responsible for global marketing, sales, and distribution, which will be supported by its global sales network.
In the near term, CNL and ITM will work on establishing an interim supply of Ac-225 using existing Chalk River facilities and supporting infrastructure. This will deliver significant quantities of the radioisotope to health care professionals and patients before the new production facility is completed, according to an announcement made by ITM and CNL on October 18.
The joint venture remains subject to further closing conditions expected to be met in early 2024. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.
The technology: Targeted alpha therapy is attracting growing interest from scientists and medical practitioners. Alpha-emitters, particularly Ac-225, are in high demand for their ability to cause damage to cancer cells. Notably, Ac-225 emits high-energy alpha particles with a short penetration range, which potentially enables precise treatment of tumor cells, including hard-to-target micro metastases, with minimal impact to surrounding healthy tissue.
According to the companies, targeted alpha therapies have shown remarkable results in preclinical studies, destroying cancer cells by effectively breaking the bonds in their DNA. Ac-225 can be labelled to a variety of peptide ligands or antibodies to specifically target cancer cells in a wide range of tumor indications.