Orano Med inaugurates Pb-212 production facility in Indiana

June 18, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News

Guillaume Dureau of Orano Group (left) and Orano Med’s Julien Dodet cut the ribbon on the new ATLabs Indianapolis. (Photo: Orano)

Orano Group subsidiary Orano Med, a developer of targeted alpha therapies for oncology, inaugurated its first ATLab (Alpha Therapy Laboratory) earlier this month. Located in Brownsburg, near Indianapolis, Ind., ATLab Indianapolis is an industrial-scale pharmaceutical facility dedicated to the production of lead-212–based radioligand therapies.

Targeted alpha therapy has shown to be effective in treating various oncological diseases, combining the natural ability of biological molecules to target cancer cells with the short-range cell-killing capabilities of alpha emissions generated by Pb-212. With a half-life of 10.64 hours, along with a decay product of the short-lived alpha-emitter bismuth-212, Pb-212 allows for the possible synthesis and purification of complex radiopharmaceuticals with minimum loss of radioactivity during preparation.

The development of radiopharmaceuticals has long been hampered by the difficulty of manufacturing and distribution on an industrial scale, Orano said, adding that the construction of ATLab Indianapolis is a major step toward making these new treatments available to cancer patients with high unmet needs in North America.

The details: With over 30,000 square feet (2,800 m²) of floor space, ATLab Indianapolis represents an investment of $20 million and will create 25 direct jobs, according to Orano. It will focus on the production of Pb-212 therapies developed by Orano Med and their distribution in North America. In 2023, Orano Med started construction work on a similar facility at Valenciennes in France to serve the European market.

Combined, this will enable Orano Med to manufacture 10,000 doses a year worldwide as of 2025, with the aim of producing 10 times that number by the end of the decade. The location near Indianapolis was chosen for its proximity to major national and international distribution networks, with the second-largest FedEx hub, ensuring reliable transport of radiopharmaceutical products, as well as its high concentration of pharmaceutical companies and skilled workforce. Orano foresees the construction of further ATLabs to meet patients’ needs worldwide.

Held June 6, the inauguration ceremony for ATLabs Indianapolis was attended by Yannick Tagand, consul general of France in Chicago; Tony Denhart, executive vice president for Talent and Workforce of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation; Travis Tschaenn, president of the Brownsburg Town Council; Guillaume Dureau, senior executive vice president of Projects & Innovation R&D and Nuclear Medicine for the Orano Group; Jean-Luc Palayer, president and chief executive officer of Orano USA; and Julien Dodet, president and CEO of Orano Med.

Quotables: “The ATLab in Indianapolis is a very important step in the development of the Orano medical activities in the U.S. Coupled with the lead-212 production capacity of our research unit in Plano, Texas—the Domestic Distribution & Purification Unit—this new industrial site will enable us to serve North American patients requiring targeted lead-212 radiotherapy treatments,” said Guillaume Dureau.

Orano Med’s Julien Dodet added, “We are convinced that lead-212 radioligand therapies will soon become an essential tool in the fight against cancer. Having obtained, together with our partner RadioMedix, breakthrough therapy designation from the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] for our most advanced drug, AlphaMedix, the inauguration of ATLab Indianapolis represents another major step forward in the development, production, and distribution of these new treatments on a large scale.”

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