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SHINE nets financing for radioisotope production plant

November 28, 2018

SHINE Medical Technologies says it has landed the financing it needs to build a factory that will make a crucial medical isotope.

SHINE, of Janesville, said Tuesday it has reached an agreement with Deerfield Management Co., a New York health care investment firm. Deerfield will provide $150 million for construction of the facility that will make molybdenum-99, a radioisotope that decays into technetium-99m, used in more than 40 million medical imaging procedures each year.

“We are excited to sign this deal,” said Greg Piefer, SHINE founder and CEO. “Deerfield is a world-leading health care investment firm and is a strong partner that provides important institutional validation of our business,” he said.

Deerfield partner Steve Hochberg said he is enthusiastic about partnering with SHINE “to help create a permanent and dependable solution to the industry’s Mo-99 shortage and to work on developing other medical isotopes for therapeutic use.”

Deerfield’s investment will be parceled out as SHINE meets certain milestones.

SHINE also has finalized a $30 million funding round from other private investors, also to build the plant and ramp up for production. That brings the total amount the company has raised to more than $250 million, spokeswoman Katrina Pitas said.

SHINE has not said publicly how much the production facility will cost.

Molybdenum-99, also known as moly-99 or Mo-99, has been produced from highly enriched uranium at a small number of aging nuclear reactors around the world that cannot keep up with demand.

SHINE, or Subcritical Hybrid Intense Neutron Emitter, puts low-enriched uranium through an atom-splitting fission process to make moly-99.

The primary contractor, Baker Concrete Construction, of Ohio, plans to start building the main production plant in spring 2019. Commercial production of moly-99 is expected to begin in 2021, and SHINE said at full capacity, the plant will be able to supply more than one-third of the global demand for the radioisotope.

“We have everything we need to start construction on the site. We are just waiting on a building permit so that the city can transfer the land to us,” Pitas said. SHINE already has one building at the site, for technology development and offices.

SHINE, which has about 85 employees, is one of two Wisconsin companies that responded to a U.S. Department of Energy call for companies to produce molybdenum-99 using a safer material than highly enriched uranium.

NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, in Beloit, also will produce the medical isotope, but from a different source — molybdenum-98. One of NorthStar’s major investors is Hendricks Holding Co., set up by Ken and Diane Hendricks, founders of ABC Supply Co., a roofing supply company based in Beloit.

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