Installation complete of new Isotope Production System at Bruce Power, paving way for production of life-saving medical isotopes

Bruce Power and Isogen (a partnership between Kinectrics and Framatome) have completed the installation of a groundbreaking Isotope Production System (IPS), making Unit 7 the first power reactor in the world with installed capability to produce Lutetium-177 (Lu-177).

Lu-177 is a medical isotope used in the treatment of various cancers, such as neuroendocrine tumours and prostate cancer. In the future, this system will also have the ability to produce other isotopes for medical uses.

“This installation of the IPS is an exciting milestone on our journey to becoming the first power reactor in the world to provide a scalable, game-changing solution in the supply of life-saving medical isotopes for the global medical community,” said James Scongack, Bruce Power’s Chief Development Officer and Executive Vice President, Operational Services. “Our medical isotope program and the IPS installation are a result of years of innovation and development in partnership with Isogen, Saugeen Ojibway Nation, and ITM, and will provide large-scale capacity to help produce medical isotopes, which will be used across the world in new treatments to fight cancer.”

With the new system now installed, activities will shift to planned commissioning along with preparation activities for commercial production that will follow once these activities and regulatory submissions are successfully completed.

“Ontario is leading the way in the production and supply of medical isotopes around the world,” said Hon. Todd Smith, Ontario’s Minister of Energy. “I’m proud of the innovative work being done by Bruce Power and its partners in the supply chain, including Framatome and Kinectrics. Their efforts are helping to further cement our position as an international isotope superpower, while providing critical medical tools to help meet the needs of patients battling cancer.”

Lu-177 offers doctors an alternative to traditional chemotherapy by deploying a “seek-and-destroy” dose to target cancer cells, while limiting damage to surrounding healthy tissues and organs. 

The IPS was developed and manufactured by Isogen, a joint venture between Framatome and Kinectrics, which is focused on developing innovative isotope production technologies.

“The installation and successful transfer of the first target marks a major accomplishment and successful implementation of Framatome Healthcare technology; the first Isotope Production System in a power reactor for commercial production of therapeutic medical isotopes,” said Curtis Van Cleve, President and CEO of Framatome Canada Ltd. “We applaud the dedication and efforts of our partners at Bruce Power, Saugeen Ojibway Nation, Kinectrics, ITM and our team, and the support of their families that allowed them to see this installation through.”

“The installation of the IPS is the result of countless hours of support from many people at Bruce Power, Framatome, Kinectrics, Saugeen Ojibway Nation and our suppliers,” said David Harris, CEO of Kinectrics. “The entire team demonstrated tremendous dedication, especially during the pandemic. This was a critical step to enable the production of Lutetium-177 for our partner, ITM, and to fortifying a strong, reliable, and large-scale global supply chain of life-saving isotopes, that both physicians and patients can depend on.”

With its new IPS system, Bruce Power will conduct the irradiation of Ytterbium-176 (176Yb) as a first step in the production of no-carrier-added Lutetium-177 (n.c.a. 177Lu). Processing of the irradiated Ytterbium-176 for the production of n.c.a. Lutetium-177, as well as the global supply of n.c.a. 177Lu, will be handled by ITM Isotope Technologies Munich SE (ITM), a leading radiopharmaceutical biotech company that is one of the largest and most reliable producer of Lu-177 for pharmaceutical use.

“The successful installation of this production site builds an important milestone in our partnership with Bruce Power and Isogen to scale up the production of high-quality medical radioisotopes,” said Steffen Schuster, CEO at ITM. “We look forward to the upcoming launch of the IPS and are proud to contribute with our unique manufacturing methodology to yield high-quality n.c.a. 177Lu and to make it accessible for cancer patients worldwide.”

The installation of the IPS is a significant step in the landmark isotope project, which is a partnership that began more than three years ago with over 400 dedicated professionals working on various stages of the project.

In November 2021, Bill Walker, MPP of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, introduced a Private Member’s motion – which passed with all party support – to assert Ontario’s leadership role in the production and supply of medical isotopes as a strategic priority for the province. Today’s announcement exemplifies that Ontario continues to be the forefront of medical isotope technology.

“I want to congratulate Bruce Power, Framatome and Kinectrics on this important accomplishment,” said MPP Walker. “Ontario has long been looked to as a leader in the medical isotope space, and these partners are playing an important role in the global supply chain to provide patients around the world with life-saving cancer treatments and diagnostic tools.”

Bruce Power will market the new isotope supply in an historic collaboration partnership with Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON). The partnership project with SON, named “Gamzook’aamin Aakoziwin,” includes an equity stake for SON and a revenue-sharing program that provides a direct benefit.

“From the initial concept in 2019 to production expected in 2022, our Gamzook’aamin Aakoziwin project is on track to meet an ambitious timeline to have isotope supply ready to meet the increasing demand from doctors and cancer patients around the world,” said Chief Lester Anoquot, Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation. “Saugeen Ojibway Nation is proud of the part we have played and will continue to play in this project.”

“Short-lived medical isotopes are essential tools for doctors and researchers in the fight against cancer, and this project will provide a much-needed source of these isotopes for patients close to home, in our communities, and around the world,” added Chief Veronica Smith, Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.

“Thanks to the investments being made into the Bruce Power site today, we can look to the future and realize a vital role in providing life-saving medical isotopes to the world, while also supplying clean, reliable and low-cost electricity to Ontario, growing the economy and fostering innovation for decades to come,” said Hon. Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and MPP for Huron-Bruce.

You can learn more about how Bruce Power is helping to keep hospitals safe, and also diagnosing and treating cancer at www.brucepower.com/isotopes.

About Bruce Power
Bruce Power is an electricity company based in Bruce County, Ontario. We are powered by our people. Our 4,200 employees are the foundation of our accomplishments and are proud of the role they play in safely delivering clean, reliable, low-cost nuclear power to families and businesses across the province and life-saving medical isotopes around the world. Bruce Power has worked hard to build strong roots in Ontario and is committed to protecting the environment and supporting the communities in which we live. Formed in 2001, Bruce Power is a Canadian-owned partnership of TC Energy, OMERS, the Power Workers’ Union and The Society of United Professionals. Learn more at www.brucepower.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

About Isogen

Isogen is a joint venture between Framatome and Kinectrics, whose mission is to enable the use of CANDU reactors to produce the medical isotopes needed to treat and diagnose patients with serious diseases world-wide. Isogen’s enabling partnerships with Bruce Power and ITM allows us to produce the world’s largest and most reliable supply of life-saving, short-lived, therapeutic medical isotopes.

About ITM Isotope Technologies Munich SE

ITM, a radiopharmaceutical biotech company, is dedicated to providing the most precise cancer radiotherapeutics and diagnostics to meet the needs of patients, clinicians and our partners through excellence in development, production and global supply. With patient benefit as the driving principle for all we do, ITM is advancing a broad pipeline, including two phase III studies, combining its high-quality radioisotopes with targeting molecules to develop precision oncology treatments. ITM is leveraging its leadership and nearly two decades of radiopharma expertise combined with its worldwide network to enable nuclear medicine to reach its full potential for helping patients live longer and better. For more information please visit: www.itm-radiopharma.com.

ITM Medical Isotopes GmbH, a 100% subsidiary of ITM Isotope Technologies Munich SE, had signed a supply arrangement for Lutetium-177 with Isogen in 2020, which was made possible through Isogen’s partnership with Bruce Power.

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