Israeli firm joins local isotope rush, signs builder for Westfield factory

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An Israeli company has firmed up plans for a new isotope manufacturing plant in Westfield in what is becoming a scramble in a red-hot local market for nuclear-medicine facilities.

Isotopia USA, a newly formed U.S. subsidiary of Isotopia Molecular Imaging Ltd., announced this month it has signed a commitment with E Solutions, an industrial contractor, to design and build a facility with 28,000 square feet of clean rooms, analytical and microbiological laboratories.

The facility at 17075 Oak Ridge Road will make Lutetium-177 and Terbium-161 isotopes, the critical ingredients of targeted nuclear medicine for cancer patients.

E Solutions is a division of Texas-based Comfort Systems, supplier of clean rooms and laboratories, as well as shielded isolators and hot cells tailored for radioisotope and radiopharmaceutical manufacturing.

Isotopia said last fall it would create 50 jobs by 2027 and plans to start delivering products to key customers by the end of this year.

“E Solutions and Comfort Systems have a reliable history of executing multiple FDA-regulated installations in the radiopharmaceutical industry on time and within budget,” Todd Hockemeyer, Isotopia USA’s CEO, said in written remarks. “Just as importantly, their expertise in cleanroom technology, clean air ventilation and building management systems make them an important partner in ensuring our success completing this project.”

Hockemeyer formerly worked as executive vice president for Indianapolis-based Point Biopharma Inc., a startup that built a factory off Georgetown Road to make radioactive compounds.

Point Biopharma was bought last year by Indianapolis-based drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. for  $1.4 billion in a move to give the drugmaker a running start in the high-flying nuclear medicine sector.

It marked a significant entry by a large pharmaceutical company into the radioisotope sector, which has a large cluster in central Indiana and is seen as a promising new field for the treatment for cancer.

Many in the sector have chosen this region because it is centrally located and near a FedEx air hub. Many isotopes begin degrading quickly, have a shelf life of a week or less and have to reach their customers and patients within a day or so.

Also last fall, RayzeBio Inc., a San Diego-based company that was building a large factory on the northwest side of Indianapolis to make radioisotopes for cancer treatment, agreed to be acquired by pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb for $4.1 billion.

RayzeBio was completing renovation of an existing warehouse at 5850 W. 80th St., a former delivery station for e-commerce giant Amazon.com. The company invested at least $45 million in the 63,000-square-foot building, which will include modular cleanrooms, mechanical systems and a back-up power system.

Other companies that make up central Indiana’s burgeoning nuclear medicine sector include Telix Pharmaceuticals of Australia, with a 2,600-square-foot space on Fishers’ municipal plaza; Novartis AG, which recently opened a $100 million, 70,000-square-foot radiopharmaceutical plant near the Indianapolis International Airport; and Curium of London, buyer of startup Zevacor Molecular of Illinois, which built a 71,000-square foot radioisotope factory in Noblesville.

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3 thoughts on “Israeli firm joins local isotope rush, signs builder for Westfield factory

    1. From Novartis website: “Basel, January 5, 2024— Novartis announced today that it has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for commercial manufacturing of PluvictoTM (INN: lutetium (177Lu) vipivotide tetraxetan / USAN: lutetium Lu 177 vipivotide tetraxetan) at its new large-scale, state-of-the-art radioligand therapy (RLT) manufacturing facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. The 70,000-square foot site, the company’s second US location, is designed specifically for RLT manufacturing and is now the largest and most advanced Novartis facility of its kind in the world. The Indianapolis site represents the next phase of RLT manufacturing growth as this new addition brings substantial supply increases for the foreseeable future.”

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