Northwest Medical Isotopes will invest $50 million to construct a Radioisotope Production Facility at Discovery Ridge Research Park in Columbia, Missouri. The project is expected to create 68 high-paying jobs.
NWMI notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of its intent to apply for a construction license. The company said its facility will be primarily used to produce molybdenum--99, which is used in medical scans for cancer, heart disease, and bone and kidney disease.
According to company officials, the United States faces potential supply shortages in the future as traditional sources of molybdenum--99 phase out operations. Hospitals use molybdenum--99 to create technetium--99m which is used in the diagnosis of heart disease, but is also used in bone scans, parathyroid scans, brain scans, neuroendocrine tumor scans, and white cell scans. During previous temporary shortages in supply, health care professionals were challenged to maintain their schedule of diagnostic procedures.
“The United States uses half of the global supply of molybdenum--99, yet we have no commercial domestic producers,” said CEO Nicholas Fowler, CEO of Northwest Medical . “The mission and vision of Northwest Medical Isotopes is to provide a domestic, secure, and reliable supply of molybdenum--99 for medical diagnostics. At full capacity, the proposed facility could supply half of North America’s needs for molybdenum--99, eliminating potential shortages of the medical isotopes and having a major impact on the health of thousands of patients in need of these medical tests each week.”
“Located in the very heart of the country, Columbia’s Discovery Ridge Research Park offers the ideal location for Northwest Medical Isotopes’ commercial production facility,” said Nicholas Fowler. “Missouri is home to world-class medical research resources as well an experienced workforce; and its strategic central location provides the access to critical markets across the country.”
NWMI selected a site at Discovery Ridge, owned by the University of Missouri System, due to its proximity to University of Missouri, efficient transportation logistics, and the region’s skilled labor. “We couldn’t be more pleased to be joining the business community of Columbia,” said Fowler.
“Residents of central Missouri have access to great health care facilities,” said Steve Wyatt, Vice Provost for Economic Development at the University of Missouri. “However, health care facilities can’t be effective if they don’t have the necessary diagnostic tools. Addressing this long-term issue successfully will allow our doctors to continue providing the best care to patients who come from throughout the state.”
NWMI’s commercialization strategy is to utilize a network of university reactors around the United States to supply the radioisotope production facility in Columbia, Missouri, for the extraction and purification of molybdenum--99. Isotopes produced from the proposed Discovery Ridge facility would be the same as the existing supply chain and would not require redesign of the molybdenum generator technology for the U.S. distributors.
"On behalf of REDI, we are excited about this announcement, which provides another excellent example how economic development succeeds with strong collaboration between the city, county and Mizzou," said Vicki Russell, Chair of Regional Economic Development, Inc.
To assist Northwest Medical Isotopes with its expansion, the Missouri Department of Economic Development has offered a strategic economic incentive package that the company can receive if it meets strict job creation and investment criteria.