Coral Gables, Fla., based Coqui RadioPharmaceuticals is moving forward with designs for a new medical isotope production facility in Alachua, Fla. An agreement to that effect has been signed by INVAP, an Argentine firm specializing in nuclear engineering, Coqui announced Nov. 20.
The proposed facility will be used to produce a U.S. commercial supply of molybdenum-99m (Mo-99), the parent isotope of technetium-99m, which is used in the vast majority of nuclear medicine procedures in the clinic. Coqui expects to apply for a construction permit with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission soon.
"The signing of this contract cements a key step in implementing proven technology to produce Mo-99 for patients requiring lifesaving medical diagnostics," Carmen I. Bigles, Coqui Pharma President and CEO, said in a press release. "Today, Coqui Pharma together with INVAP has built a bridge between the U.S. and Argentina, uniting our efforts to ensure the availability and reliability of the most essential radioisotope in nuclear medicine and with the added benefit of making the world a safer place for generations to come by utilizing proven non-proliferation, low-enriched uranium technologies."
INVAP has completed work on several of the world’s major research reactors, including the OPAL reactor in Australia, the NUR reactor in Algeria and the ETRR-2 reactor in Egypt. The proposed facility in Florida will use low-enriched uranium targets and an open pool reactor design similar to the OPAL reactor.