Radiation Applications

Medical Isotopes / PanTera And TerraPower To Cooperate On Actinium-225 Production

By Kamen Kraev
26 June 2023

Belgian and US companies to address supply gap for clinical trials

PanTera And TerraPower To Cooperate On Actinium-225 Production
SCK CEN and IBA are planning to build a PanTera production facility at the SCK CEN site in Mol, Belgium. Courtesy IBA.

Belgium-based PanTera and US-based TerraPower Isotopes have signed a strategic cooperation agreement to increase the global production of actinium-225 (Ac-225), a promising radioisotope for the treatment of a wide array of cancers, which is presently undergoing clinical trials.

PanTera said in a statement that the two companies are planning to use TerraPower’s natural decay method based on thorium-229 (Th-229) and PanTera’s “gamma route” based on radium-226 (Ra-226) to produce Ac-225 in the “near-term”.

Ac-225 is a promising alpha emitter for use in targeted alpha therapy. It has the potential to target solid tumors, metastases, and systemic cancers such as leukemia.

The radioisotope has been causing excitement among researchers who are finding ways to use it to target cancers while avoiding healthy cells.

There are several clinical studies currently in progress, ranging from pre-clinical development to phase-three clinical trials, said PanTera.

The company said, however, that while demand is growing, supply for Ac-225 remains scarce. The collaboration agreement with TerraPower aims to address the supply issue.

According to PanTera’s chief executive Sven Van den Berghe, the company is preparing to start large-scale production of Ac-225 in 2024.

PanTera was set up in September 2022 as a joint venture between Belgium’s nuclear research centre SCK CEN and IBN (Ion Beam Applications) with the mission to commercialise the production of Ac-225 from Ra-226 with the use of accelerator technology. Belgium has radium reserves dating back to the beginning of the 20th century when the country was a pioneer of radiochemical research.

TerraPower is a reactor developer working on a sodium-cooled fast reactor with a molten salt-based energy storage system, called Natrium. The company has added to its portfolio projects to manufacture medical isotopes, develop process heat applications, and the design of advanced nuclear reactors.

The company has been working since 2018 to increase supply of Ac-225 from the decay of Th-229, available from legacy US nuclear material through a public-private partnership. TerraPower aims to increase the supply of Ac-225 by 75 to 100 times, the company said, adding that the cooperation with PanTera will further increase the speed and supply of Ac-225 that is available to the global pharmaceutical community.

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