The United States and Belgium Partner to Accelerate the Fight Against Cancer
SpectronRx will open its first European facility on SCK CEN’s premises
SpectronRx will open its first European radiolabeling facility for sorely needed medical radioisotopes. This facility will be established on the premises of the Belgian Nuclear Research Center SCK CEN in Mol, Belgium. It will be operational in 2024 and will focus on actinium-225. This promising therapeutic radioisotope shows great potential in the treatment of cancer.
Indiana-based SpectronRx plays an essential role in the development and manufacturing of radiopharmaceuticals to be used in the treatment of cancer. This contribution is made possible by its strong expertise in all scales of radiopharmaceutical development, from initial conjugations and radiolabeling – the process of coupling a radioactive material to a molecule – to scale-up and distribution. SpectronRx also has the capacity to run clinical trials. And although SpectronRx is backed by decades of experience, it wasn’t until last year that the radiopharmaceutical company earned the EMA seal of approval to send its life-saving nuclear meds across the pond to Europe.
“Gaining EMA approval was a critical step in fulfilling our ambition to supply Europe with much-needed diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals,” says John Zehner, SpectronRx CEO. “Medical radioisotopes are in short supply in many many places, and European patients deserve to have access to them. That’s why our partnership with SCK CEN is so important.”
SpectronRx is arguably the leader in this space in the US market and is closing the geographical gap between America and Europe for the benefit of European patients. That’s why it has invested in gaining a foothold on European soil. And in its search for an operating base in Europe, the company decided on Belgium.
“Belgium, and more specifically SCK CEN, was an easy choice,” said Anwer Rizvi, President of SpectronRx. “The Belgian Nuclear Research Center is globally known as one of the leading producers of medical radioisotopes. And it already had plans to actively research therapeutic radioisotopes. Furthermore, we hold a common mission: we both aim to accelerate the fight against cancer.”
“Cooperation is the way forward to providing better outcomes for cancer patients,” said Koen Hasaers, Director of Nuclear Medical Applications at SCK CEN. “We are therefore happy to welcome activities for SpectronRx on our premises.”
Both organizations have recently made their cooperation official by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). In the MOU, it is agreed that SpectronRx will provide state-of-the-art equipment and a Quality System with GMP-qualified procedures, whereas SCK CEN will supply the necessary resources to meet the development objectives.
“Our researchers and lab technicians will handle the radiolabeling,” added Koen Hasaers (SCK CEN).
The brand-new facility will be operational by 2024 and focus on the labeling of actinium-225 radiopharmaceuticals for therapy.
Actinium-225 possesses the resounding potential to treat cancers effectively. Initial research results show that the therapeutic radioisotope eliminates cancer cells rather than just inhibiting tumor growth. The risk of recurrence also appears to decrease. To date, extensive preclinical research, as well as numerous clinical studies, are underway which aim to tackle both high prevalence cancers including prostate, lung, colon, breast, pancreas, blood (leukemia and other rare forms), and kidney cancers, but also rarer forms of cancer like glioblastoma, the deadliest form of a very invasive brain cancer.
Main ingredients in life-saving nuclear meds
Radiopharmaceuticals have two main ingredients: specially designed molecules to seek out cancer cells and a radioactive material. When attached to each other, these isotope-powered radiopharmaceuticals can selectively target cancer cells and irradiate them without affecting healthy tissues. The cancer cells are damaged, causing them to die off and the tumor itself eventually shrinks.
Both partners perceive this agreement as a first stepping stone, as they are already exploring possibilities to address more patients. “Actinium-225 needs are receiving critical attention from many. With the current promising research results, we are convinced that research and development of this radiopharmaceutical will quickly grow in the years to come. As said before, our mission is to accelerate the fight against cancer: we want to keep this promise even in the face of the growing demand for patients”, concludes Koen Hasaers (SCK CEN). Broadening the isotope portfolio is also on the table.
About SCK CEN
70 years of experience in nuclear research and technology
SCK CEN is one of the largest research institutions in Belgium. Every day, more than 850 employees dedicate themselves to developing peaceful applications of radioactivity. SCK CEN's research activities focus on three main areas: innovative nuclear systems, nuclear waste management and dismantling, and the crucial fight against cancer. SCK CEN is world-renowned and shares its knowledge through countless publications and training courses so that this pool of exceptional competence can be maintained.
More info: www.sckcen.be
SpectronRx is a diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceutical developer and manufacturer with three distinct specialties: Radiopharmaceutical Contract Development (RCDMO), Radiopharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing (RCMO), and Isotope Production. The company performs all scales of development, from initial conjugations through scale-up and commercial distribution. It also has the capacity to run clinical trials. Additionally, SpectronRx's deep industry knowledge, technical prowess and state-of-the-art facilities enable the company to significantly condense the timeline for bringing new medicines to market, which has the dual benefit of saving lives and driving greater profitability for clients.
With a large staff of radiochemists, radiopharmacists, scientists and engineers, dozens of qualified clean rooms, and over 140,000 sq. ft. of production space in Indiana, with additional facilities in Danbury, Connecticut and Europe, SpectronRx now supplies therapeutic and diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals to six continents. The company has been EMA and FDA inspected and can produce and procure any currently used radioisotopes, including actinium-225. For more information visit SpectronRx.com, or follow the company on LinkedIn.