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BWXT announces new medical isotope manufacturing technology

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Lynchburg-based BWX Technologies Inc. has developed a new medical isotope manufacturing technology.

The company says the technology will create a stable North American supply of a critical diagnostic imaging radionuclide, molybdenum-99 (Mo-99).

The Mo-99 will be used in newly designed technetium-99m (Tc-99m) generators that are in commercial development at BWXT.

The new proprietary technology features a patent-pending neutron-capture process developed by BWXT scientists and engineers.

The process will use molybdenum rather than uranium targets, a move that BWXT says will mitigate radioactive waste streams, eliminate nuclear proliferation concerns and lead to a significant reduction in production and waste costs.

Mo-99 is the parent radioisotope of Tc-99m, which is used in more than 30 million medical procedures around the world every year.

BWXT expects to enter the roughly $400 million global Tc-99m segment through generator sales to radiopharmacies. The company’s initial focus will be on the North American market.

The company expects to submit its new line of Tc-99m generators for regulatory approval next year.

BWXT also plans to introduce the Mo-99 product line by the end of next year, subject to regulatory approvals, and intends to apply its expertise to a variety of other medical and industrial isotopes.

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