Lantheus inks purchasing deal with MDS Nordion for rare isotope

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Lantheus Medical Imaging Inc. sealed a new purchasing deal with Ottawa-based MDS Nordion for a rare imaging isotope, molybdenum-99.

The Billerica, Mass.-based medical imaging company will begin receiving a weekly supply of Mo-99 when the National Research Universal reactor in Chalk River, Ontario, goes back online, expected the end of July. The contract is good through July 2011.

Mo-99 is the parent isotope of the technetium-99m isotope commonly used in medical imaging. Lantheus needs Mo-99 to fuel its TechneLite generators to make Te-99m. Lantheus vice president of manufacturing and supply chain Bill Dawes said in prepared remarks that the company is committed to helping "stabilize the worldwide Mo-99 shortage." Molybdenum-99 has a half-life of just 2.74 days and is very rare.

Lantheus is in the process of increasing its suppliers for the isotope. In May, the company gained increased access to Mo-99 from the Nuclear Reactor Institute, resulting from a partnership between the Institute for Radioelements in Fleurus, Belgium, and the Rez, Czech Republic-based Nuclear Research Institute.

Last summer Lantheus inked a deal with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization to receive Mo-99. In March, Mansfield, Mass.-based Covidien plc (NYSE:COV) inked a similar deal with the Polish Institute of Atomic Energy’s Maria reactor.

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