News Release | For Immediate Release | April 28, 2009
Collaboration Examines New Technology Alternative for Medical Isotope Supply
(Ottawa, CANADA) -- MDS Nordion, a leading global provider of medical isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals used in molecular medicine, and TRIUMF, Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, today announced they have signed an agreement to study the feasibility of producing a viable and reliable supply of photo-fission-produced molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) used globally for diagnostic medical imaging.
MDS Nordion and TRIUMF will also provide their respective expertise and resources to collaboratively develop a commercialization plan, which will include an operational plan, business model and time lines.
Medical isotopes produced using photo-fission employ the use of a linear accelerator rather than a nuclear reactor; as such, the need to ship and handle highly enriched uranium is eliminated in favour of naturally occurring uranium. This method also provides a potential alternate solution through which to supplement the production capacity of Mo-99, and lessen the reliance on existing nuclear research reactors.
"This integrated collaboration is a positive step toward achieving an additional medical-isotope solution to meet the increased needs of the global nuclear medicine community," said MDS Nordion President Steve West. "With the superior level of the science at TRIUMF, combined with Nordion's market and technical expertise, we seek to provide a flexible, reliable and responsive medical-isotope solution to potentially strengthen the global supply chain."
Statistics from Arlington Medical Resources, Inc., a Philadelphia-based pharmaceutical market research firm, show that every year more than 15 million patients in North America are diagnosed or treated with nuclear medicine procedures. Today, 80% of these procedures rely on one key medical isotope, Mo-99, which is largely used to diagnose heart disease and cancer.
"MDS Nordion's processing experience and TRIUMF's proven knowledge of physics, and accelerator and target expertise is a strong combination," said TRIUMF Director Nigel Lockyer. "MDS Nordion's significant market presence, along with TRIUMF's science and technology proficiencies, could create a great opportunity through which to address the increasing domestic and international demand for molybdenum-99."
MDS Nordion and TRIUMF have a 30-year history of successful partnership with a renewed commitment focused on research and development. This commercial relationship has resulted in a number of pioneering developments - including receipt in 2004 of the NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation for the most outstanding achievements of university-industry collaboration. Building on this established foundation, the agreement between MDS Nordion and TRIUMF to study the feasibility of producing a viable and reliable supply of photo-fission Mo-99 for diagnostic medical imaging continues to use both partners' complementary expertise and skills in the field of molecular imaging technology.
TRIUMF is Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics. Located on the south campus of the University of British Columbia, TRIUMF is owned and operated as a joint venture, via a contribution through National Research Council Canada and supported by the Province of British Columbia, by a consortium of the following Canadian universities: University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, Carleton University, University of Manitoba, l'Université de Montréal, Simon Fraser University, University of Toronto, and University of Victoria. To learn more about TRIUMF, go to http://www.triumf.ca.
ABOUT MDS NORDION
MDS Nordion, a business unit of MDS Inc., is a global leader in providing medical isotopes for molecular and diagnostic imaging, radiotherapeutics and sterilization technologies for medical products that benefit the lives of millions of people in more than 50 countries around the world. MDS Nordion's products and services are used on a daily basis by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, medical-device manufacturers, hospitals, clinics and research laboratories. Find out more at www.mdsnordion.com
MDS Inc. (TSX: MDS; NYSE: MDZ) is a global life sciences company that provides market-leading products and services that our customers need for the development of drugs, and the diagnosis and treatment of disease. We are a leading global provider of pharmaceutical contract research, medical isotopes for molecular imaging, radiotherapeutics, and analytical instruments. MDS has more than 5,000 highly skilled people in 29 countries. Find out more at www.mdsinc.com or by calling 1-888-MDS-7222, 24 hours a day.