Orano Med invests in radiopharma production in France and the US

Investments will double lab space and finance the installation of a cleanroom

Photo as seen on company website

Orano Med will be investing €15 million in France and the US to accelerate the development of therapeutic solutions using the radioactive properties of lead-212 (212Pb) in the fight against cancer. These investments will allow the expansion of the technical production capacities of the two main Orano Med sites in response to needs related to preclinical and clinical development.

In practice, these investments will double the laboratory space available at the Maurice Tubiana Laboratory in Bessines-sur-Gartempe (France) in order to increase its lead-212 production capacities.

The French company will also finance the installation of a cleanroom, allowing the facility to achieve the status of "pharmaceutical establishment" as recognised by the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM). This is a necessary step before clinical doses can be sent for therapeutic trials in Europe.

In the US, the capacities of the Domestic Distribution & Purification Unit (DDPU), located near Dallas, Texas, will be extended to allow several clinical trials to be performed in parallel.

New research and development laboratories and the purchase of special equipment for the development and synthesis of new molecules will also accelerate Orano Med’s preclinical research into peptides radiolabelled with lead-212.

Lead-212 is a rare isotope produced by Orano Med that is used for a series of treatments known as "targeted alpha therapy", an approach to fighting cancers with limited therapeutic options. This approach uses the properties of alpha emitters such as lead-212 to specifically target and destroy the cancer cells, while limiting the impact on healthy cells.

"We have reached a point where we are sufficiently confident in the potential of our lead-212 therapies to make these investments, which are vital to our development," explained Julien Dodet, the CEO of Orano Med, at the International Symposium on Targeted Alpha Therapy, which took place this week in Ottawa.

Dodet added: "They will enable us to guarantee our supply of lead-212, and produce and ship clinical doses for forthcoming trials, as well as strengthen our potential to develop new molecules to enrich our portfolio of new therapies. The investment programme will run until mid-2020."

Orano is a recent company but has existed in one form or another for a long time. The Areva Group had a corporate restructure and in the process separated its nuclear cycle business into a separate company, called New Areva. This later became Orano.

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