A Medical Device Daily

Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services Group (B&W; Lynchburg, Virginia) reported that it has signed an agreement with Covidien (Mansfield, Massachusetts) to develop technology for the manufacture of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), the parent isotope of technetium-99m (Tc-99m), the most widely used radioisotope in the world for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine procedures.

The program has the potential to supply more than 50% of U.S. demand for Mo-99.

Under the agreement, B&W and the Mallinckrodt (Hazelwood, Missouri) subsidiary of Covidien will collaborate on the development of solution-based reactor technology for medical isotope production.

The agreement combines Covidien's expertise in radiopharmaceutical production and global regulatory approvals with B&W's patented liquid phase nuclear technology. This reactor technology uses low enriched uranium (LEU) and generates only about 1% of the radioactive waste compared to spent fuel and processing wastes generated by current reactor production of Mo-99, most of which uses highly enriched uranium (HEU).

This collaboration is an initial step toward establishing a large-scale U.S. supply of medical isotopes. Currently, the U.S. imports 100% of its Mo-99 supply, which is manufactured at a handful of aging nuclear reactors. Unplanned shutdowns of these reactors for maintenance needs or safety-related issues have led to periodic shortages of medical isotopes.

Because Mo-99 has a half-life of only 66 hours, shortages have an almost immediate impact on the ability of physicians to perform critical patient procedures. Besides providing a reliable, domestic supply of the medical isotope, the program will support the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration's nonproliferation efforts.

In other agreements/contracts news:

• Corgenix Medical (Denver) has reported a collaboration with Battelle (Columbus, Ohio) for biodefense-related projects and programs. Under terms of the agreement, Corgenix will provide biodefense project support to Battelle in several areas, including prototype product development, production scale-up, technology transfer, manufacturing, quality control and regulatory compliance.

• Instrumentation Laboratory (IL; Lexington, Massachusetts) said that MedAssets Supply Chain Systems (Alpharetta, Georgia) has extended its contract to offer IL's critical care portfolio through July 2010.

This continues a contract first established in 2002. It covers IL's portfolio of critical-care analyzers, reagents, consumables and service, including IL's flagship product, the GEM Premier 4000 analyzer for blood gas, electrolyte and metabolite and integrated CO-Oximetry testing.