Perma-Fix Announces Exclusive Commercial License to Technology for Use in Proprietary Process to Produce Medical Isotopes
Â Perma-Fix Environmental Services (NASDAQ: PESI) today announced it has signed an exclusive commercial license for a patent-pending column generator technology that produces radioisotopes not derived from fissioned uranium.
The agreement follows execution of an option agreement signed in June 2011 and over two years of development by Perma-Fix of a proprietary manufacturing process for medical isotope production. Perma-Fix has applied for its own patents covering various steps of the process and will incorporate this exclusive technology into its process.Â
Perma-Fix intends to produce the important radioisotope Tc-99m, which is the most widely used medical isotope in the world, using these proprietary technologies to help ensure a reliable domestic supply. Tc-99m (and its parent Mo-99) is used in the nuclear medicine field for approximately six million diagnostic nuclear medical procedures performed each year, encompassing more than 30 radiopharmaceuticals for a wide variety of medical specialties including cardiology, gastroenterology, oncology, and psychiatry.Â We do not believe that there is a domestic source of Mo-99 at this time, and most of the United States' supply of Mo-99 is produced from the fission ofÂ enriched uranium in aging reactors, which is costly and raises proliferation concerns.Â In recent years, production issues resulting from employing aging reactors have caused severe worldwide shortages in the supply chain of Mo-99, disrupting medical procedures.Â The short half-life of Mo-99 (only 66 hours) prevents it from being stockpiled.Â
Perma-Fix's new Mo-99/Tc-99m production process encompasses the full production cycle.Â Unlike conventional methods, the new process produces Mo-99 using natural molybdenum irradiated in research or commercial reactors, which we believe offers important advantages over current production methods.Â These advantages include less radioactive waste and no fission product emissions during post-irradiation processing of Mo-99.
Dr. Louis F. Centofanti commented, "We appreciate the support we have received from our licensor in gaining access to its generator technology, and are pleased to solidify our exclusive commercial license. Perma-Fix is now focused on completing the final stages of commercial development, and looks forward to announcing additional milestones."
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