Agreement Signed for Ytterbium-176
Eckert & Ziegler Radiopharma GmbH (EZR) has signed a joint venture and exclusive long-term supply agreements for Ytterbium-176 with Atom Mines LLC, a producer of enriched Ytterbium isotopes and a subsidiary of the non-profit Pointsman Foundation, both based in Austin, Texas.
Cancer therapies based on Lutetium-177 are proving highly effective, yet the world supply of the indispensable precursor, Ytterbium-176, has previously been measured in grams per year. A new technology partially financed by EZR and developed by Atom Mines now promises to overcome this bottleneck: first samples delivered met the relevant quality criteria for isotope purity. EZR will be able to make Lutetium-177 available in large quantities to pharmaceutical companies worldwide to treat hundreds of thousands of patients per year.
While shown to be highly effective in clinical trials, regulatory approvals previously limited Lutetium-177 based radiotherapeutics to rare cancer types such as neuroendocrine tumors. Recently, however, the FDA and other regulatory bodies extended approvals for Lutetium-177 based radiotherapeutics to prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death. This has raised supply chain concerns among pharmaceutical producers, in particular about the scarce supply of Ytterbium-176.
“We are excited about the achievements of the team at Atom Mines and the potential of their isotope separation technology”, commented Lutz Helmke, COO of EZR. “They have closed an important gap in the supply chain for Lutetium-177 nca which will enable EZR to strengthen its position as a partner of choice for global radiopharmaceutical companies such as Novartis, Bayer, or Telix.”
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