SpectronRx teams with Belgian research center to make cancer therapies in Europe

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SpectronRx uses a cyclotron to manufacture radiopharmaceutical isotopes. (image courtesy: SpectronRx)

An Indianapolis-based radiopharmaceutical company said Friday it plans to help open a facility in Belgium to make therapeutic agents for European cancer patients.

SpectronRx has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Belgian Nuclear Research Center (also known as SCK CEN) “to accelerate the fight against cancer.”

SpectronRx manufactures radioisotopes, a technology that delivers radiation to the site of cancer cells in a more precise manner than chemotherapy.

Under the agreement, SpectronRx will provide manufacturing equipment and a quality system, and SCK CEN will supply the researchers and lab technicians. The new facility will open in 2024 and focus on the labeling of actinium-225 radiopharmaceuticals for therapy. Actinium-225 is thought to possess high potential to treat cancers, the companies said in a joint announcement.

Radiopharmaceuticals have two main ingredients: specially designed molecules to seek out cancer cells and a radioactive material to irradiate the cancer cells without affecting healthy tissues.

“Belgium, and more specifically SCK CEN, was an easy choice,” Anwer Rizvi, president of SpectronRx, said in written remarks. “The Belgian Nuclear Research Center is globally known as one of the leading producers of medical radioisotopes. And it already had plans to actively research therapeutic radioisotopes. Furthermore, we hold a common mission: we both aim to accelerate the fight against cancer.”

The two organizations said the agreement was :a first stepping stone” and they are already exploring possibilities to address more patients.

“With the current promising research results, we are convinced that research and development of this radiopharmaceutical will quickly grow in the years to come. As said before, our mission is to accelerate the fight against cancer: we want to keep this promise even in the face of the growing demand for patients,” Koen Hasaers, director of nuclear medical applications for SCK CEN, said in written comments. “Broadening the isotope portfolio is also on the table.”

SCK CEN is one of the largest research institutions in Belgium, with more than 850 employees. It focuses on innovative nuclear systems, nuclear waste management and dismantling, and the fight against cancer.

SpectronRx, with headquarters at 9550 Zionsville Road, is a contract development and manufacturing organization. It supplies therapeutic and diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals to six continents.  The company was founded in South Bend in 2004 before moving to Indianapolis in 2019.

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