The Government of Canada has announced its intent to lead the fight against cancer at home and around the world with funding announced today that will support the development of a medical isotope ecosystem in Canada. The partnership includes Indigenous communities, Ontario’s nuclear industry, and leading research facilities, academics, and firms working to commercialize novel therapies.
As part of the funding announced today at the Bruce Power Visitors’ Centre, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) will take the next step in their partnership with Bruce Power to jointly produce, advance and market new isotopes in support of the global fight against cancer, while also working together to create new economic opportunities within the SON territory.
This funding will ultimately enable a pan-Canadian consortium – the Canadian Medical Isotope Ecosystem (CMIE) – to advance and accelerate the development of the next generation of novel medical isotopes and technologies. The CMIE will position Canada as a leader across all stages of the isotope production cycle, most importantly to ensure cancer patients and health care professionals have access to the critical isotopes they need, when they need them.
“Canada is a world leader in medical isotope research and production, and Bruce Power is proud to be among the innovative companies that places Canada at the forefront of nuclear medicine,” said Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power’s President and CEO. “We are honoured to partner with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation to market isotope production and thank the federal government for its support in leveraging this historic opportunity, while creating sustainable economic benefits within the SON territory.”
The Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, advanced the funding to support projects that strengthen Canada’s leadership position in research, development and production of medical isotopes and pharmaceuticals.
“Our government is proud to partner in the creation of the Canadian Medical Isotope Ecosystem, which includes support for the SON First Nations communities’ partnership with Bruce Power to innovate in the fight against cancer,” said Minister Champagne. “The pandemic has shown us how important it is to have strong domestic production of pharmaceuticals, and we are delivering on our commitment to providing Canadians with the best therapies they need to care for their health. With this investment, we are making our country a major player in the global biomanufacturing and life sciences industry while creating good jobs for Canadians and stimulating the local economy.”
Pam Damoff, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and the Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington, has been a strong advocate for Canada’s medical isotope sector, and announced the funding on behalf of Minister Champagne at today’s event.
“With this investment in the creation of the Canadian Medical Isotope Ecosystem, the Government of Canada is taking another major step towards building resiliency in our domestic medical production capabilities, which will help to ensure the health and safety of Canadians in the event of any potential future global supply chain disruptions,” said Damoff. “This investment will not only grow the economy, as the Ecosystem is expected to attract over $75 million in investment, and create or maintain over 600 highly skilled, well-paying jobs, but also contribute to economic reconciliation with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation.”
Bruce Power partnered with the SON in 2019 in an historic collaboration for the marketing of current and new isotopes produced through the first-of-a-kind Isotope Production System (IPS) that was installed at Bruce Power in 2022. The partnership, named Gamzook’aamin aakoziwin, which translates to ‘We are Teaming Up to Fight the Sickness,’ includes a revenue-sharing program that provides a direct benefit to the community.
“Today marks another important milestone in the Gamzook’aamin Aakoziwin partnership between Bruce Power and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation,” said Chief Veronica Smith, Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. “By working together, patients around the world have access to cancer-fighting treatments made possible through medical isotope production.”
“We are proud to be part of this innovative project, which will deliver benefits beyond the local community, to people across the world in the global fight against cancer,” said Chief Conrad Ritchie, Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation.
The Made-in-Ontario IPS, designed and installed by Isogen (a joint venture between Framatome and Kinectrics) at Bruce Power, irradiates ytterbium-176 to produce lutetium-177, which is then transported to ITM’s manufacturing facility in Germany for processing of pharmaceutical-grade, non-carrier-added lutetium-177 (n.c.a. lutetium-177) and used in various clinical and commercial radiopharmaceutical cancer treatments.
“With commercial production of lutetium-177 well underway at Bruce Power, physicians and their patients worldwide now have access to a new, dependable, large-scale supply of lutetium-177 for their cancer treatments,” said John D’Angelo, Chair, Isogen Corp.
The funding announcement was made possible through Innovation, Science and Economic Development’s Strategic Innovation Fund, which provides major investments in innovative projects that will help grow Canada’s economy for the well-being of all Canadians. The investment will help develop Canadian technologies and support advancements in Canada’s medical isotope industry, supporting projects at Bruce Power, TRIUMF, Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization, McMaster Nuclear Reactor, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and BWXT Medical.
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 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.