Lantheus Medical Imaging mitigates impact of global Molybdenum-99
4 June 2009
Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc. has signed an agreement with NTP
Radioisotopes (Pty) Ltd., a subsidiary of the South African Nuclear
Energy Corporation (NECSA), to manufacture and supply Lantheus with an
ongoing volume of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), a key isotope used in medical
This agreement underlines Lantheus’ commitment to investing in a
supply chain diversification strategy and providing new solutions to
address the limited and fragile global Mo-99 supply chain, as evidenced
by the current NRU reactor shutdown in Canada.1
Under the terms of this agreement, Lantheus will receive a specified
supply of Mo-99 at regular intervals from NTP, enhancing the company’s
ability to meet and/or exceed customer demand.
NTP has, in turn, partnered with Belgian radiochemical producer IRE
to co-supply the Lantheus requirement and thereby maximize security of
ongoing regular supplies of Mo-99 to Lantheus. IRE and NTP have a long
and successful relationship as reliable and consistent suppliers of
Mo-99 to key customers.
Global shortfalls of Mo-99 have recently impacted the availability of
critical diagnostic imaging procedures, causing concern within the
medical imaging industry.
Mo-99 is the parent isotope of technetium-99m (Tc99m), the most
widely utilized radioisotope in the world for molecular and nuclear
diagnostic imaging procedures.
There are only a few major suppliers of nuclear-reactor generated
Mo-99 in the world. Mo-99 is primarily imported into the US from aging
and increasingly less reliable nuclear reactors. Recent problems within
the global reactor structure have created instability in the supply of
Mo-99, affecting the availability of the medical isotope to technetium
generator manufacturers. Without adequate supply of Mo-99, crucial
imaging tests must be cancelled or postponed with potentially negative
consequences for patients.
“Partnering with NTP Radioisotopes as a reliable supplier of Mo-99
will provide us with expanded access within a limited supply chain. This
partnership will bring our complementary skillsets and commitment to
quality and reliability together to ensure patients have uninterrupted,
timely access to needed medical imaging procedures that can diagnose
life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and cancer,” said Don
Kiepert, president and CEO, Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc.
“Diversification of our supply chain and the introduction of new
solutions in the marketplace to address the frequent worldwide medical
isotope shortages is one of our foremost priorities as a company.”
“As one of the top global producers of radioisotopes, NTP is pleased
to enter into this mutual alliance with Lantheus Medical Imaging to
ensure continued supply of Mo-99 for use in important diagnostic tests,”
said Don Robertson, managing director of NTP Radioisotopes (Pty) Ltd.
“For more than 17 years, NTP has played a significant role in its
contribution towards the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. We hold a
world-class record for reliability in terms of delivery and quantity of
radioisotopes, and strive to work with our partners to minimize any
risks to the routine supply of Mo-99.”
About Molybdenum-99 and Technetium-99m
Over 22.5 million doses of diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals were
injected into patients in the United States during 2008. Of these,
nearly two-thirds were for cardiac exams, with the remaining for
oncology, neurology and other applications.
Technetium-99m (Tc99m), which is the decay product of molybdenum-99
(Mo-99), is the most commonly used medical radioisotope in the United
At over 18.5 million doses, Tc99m accounted for 82% of all diagnostic
radiopharmaceutical injections.2 Tc99m is used in Lantheus Medical
Imaging’s TechneLite (Technetium Tc99m Generator) generators, which are
distributed to hospitals and radiopharmacies as a source of Tc99m for
diagnostic imaging procedures.
Tc99m is also used with Cardiolite (Kit for the Preparation of
Technetium Tc99m Sestamibi for Injection), one of the world’s most
widely-used cardiac imaging agents and the only technetium labeled
myocardial perfusion agent that has been used to image more than 40
In diagnostic use, the Tc99m is attached to a specific molecule and
injected into the patient. The diagnostic medicine then travels to the
site or organ of interest and a special camera is used to pick up the
gamma rays emitted from the radioactive material in the body and create
images for diagnostic evaluation.
Bookmark this page