BWXT’s isotope technologies group in Canada has developed proprietary manufacturing technology to produce high purity Ge-68 and is in the process of scaling up its capacity to move into full production in 2020 to address growing global customer demands. Ge-68 will be produced using cyclotrons at BWXT’s Vancouver facility located on the TRIUMF site. TRIUMF, which is Canada’s particle accelerator center, and BWXT’s medical isotopes group have been working together to support medical isotope production for more than 40 years.
BWXT’s Ge-68 product will be used in Gallium-68 (Ga-68) generators, a source of the diagnostic radioisotope Ga-68. Using specific disease-targeting molecules, Ga-68 provides diagnoses and enables treatment planning using positron emission tomography (PET).
Diagnostic applications for Ga-68 include prostate cancer and neuroendocrine tumors. In addition, a number of other therapeutic and Ga-68 imaging agents are in various stages of development and clinical trials that are expected to result in a further increase in demand for Ga-68.
“BWXT is in an excellent position to be able to respond to the market’s growing demand for this critical radioisotope,” said Rex D. Geveden, BWXT’s president and CEO. “We acquired the medical isotope business just over a year ago, and we are very pleased with this business and its growing portfolio of products.”
“BWXT’s isotope technologies group has had a very productive year and we are excited to announce the upcoming supply of Ge-68,” said Tom Burnett, BWXT ITG Canada, Inc.’s vice president and general manager. “We will continue our strategy of advancing innovation and bringing new products to market to enable reliable supply.”
“TRIUMF and BWXT collaborate to enable the development and ongoing supply of crucial medical isotopes around the world,” said Kathryn Hayashi, CEO of TRIUMF Innovations, the commercialization arm for TRIUMF. “We look forward to supplying this critical isotope to a growing global market.”
Ge-68 is the third new medical radioisotope development project underway at BWXT. In 2018, the company announced that it had developed a process to manufacture molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), and in late September of this year, BWXT announced the availability of its generic version of Indium In-111 Oxyquinoline Solution. BWXT also markets four other radiochemical solutions (Indium-111, Iodine-123, Palladium-103 and Strontium-82).
Headquartered in Lynchburg, Va., BWX Technologies Inc. supplies nuclear components and fuel to the U.S. government; provides technical and management services to support the U.S. government in the operation of complex facilities and environmental remediation activities; and supplies precision manufactured components, services and fuel for the commercial nuclear power industry. With approximately 6,350 employees, BWXT has 11 major operating sites in the United States and Canada. In addition, BWXT joint ventures provide management and operations at more than a dozen U.S. Department of Energy and NASA facilities.