Morning Briefing - May 23, 2019
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May 23, 2019

New Mexico Startup Secures Funding for Moly-99 Production Reactor

By ExchangeMonitor

A startup based in Albuquerque, N.M., said Wednesday it has secured funding for construction of a 2-megawatt reactor facility for production of the medical isotope molybdenum-99.

Eden Radioisotopes plans in four years to begin production at the reactor and processing complex in the city of Hobbs, in southeastern New Mexico.

The funder is Abo Empire, a family owned oil and gas company looking to diversify its investments, according to an Eden press release. The amount of the companies’ investment agreement, along with the cost of the facility, are not being released, Eden Chief Operating Officer Chris Wagner told Weapons Complex Morning Briefing.

Wagner’s LinkedIn profile cites Eden as a $75 million startup.

The Eden production system is an improved version of a reactor modified in the late 1990s at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque for production of molybdenum-99, Wagner said. The federal government ultimately scratched that program to avoid competing with an isotope facility then being built in Canada. The Canadian project, though, was eventually canceled.

Three of Eden’s five co-founders worked on the Sandia project, according to Wagner, who has worked at Eden since 2013 following stints at medical companies including Nordion and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.

Molybdenum-99 decays into technetium-99m, a medical isotope used globally for diagnostic imaging.

Eden is searching for properties in Hobbs to build its facility, which would include the reactor to irradiate the molybdenum-99 targets, a separate processing facility to separate out the isotope, and administrative offices. It would need a license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to begin construction.

Wagner said the Eden facility, once operational, could produce over 10,000 curies of molybdenum-99 per week if the full reactor core of targets were processed. That would be sufficient to meet global need, he said.