Areva Med starts building US facility for lead-212 production

23 September 2015

Areva Med, the subsidiary of French engineering company Areva for the development of cancer treatments, has begun construction of its second lead-212 production facility.

Areva Med new US lead-212 facility - 460
An artist's impression of how the new DDPU unit will look (Image: Areva Med)

Known as DDPU (Domestic Distribution and Purification Unit), the Plano, Texas-based facility will become Areva Med's headquarters in the USA. It will also host the laboratories and offices of its subsidiary, Macrocyclics, which designs and manufactures chelating agents and chemicals for nuclear medicine.

Areva Med began operating its high-purity lead-212 production facility in France in 2013, and this second facility will produce lead-212 in the USA by mid-2016, the company said in a statement on 10 September. With a modular design concept, the DDPU will be able to increase production capacities over time to allow for multiple lead-212 product development phases, it said.

Patrick Bourdet, CEO of Areva Med, said: "Since completing our first Phase 1 clinical trial, we can combine now all our expertise in one centralized location. This second lead-212 production facility will allow us to expand our product pipeline in development and our industrial footprint in the USA."

The usage of lead-212 is becoming increasingly more common within the scientific community and the pharmaceutical industry, Areva Med said. Lead-212 is used notably, it added, in targeted alpha therapy - a "promising, innovative approach in oncology to target and destroy cancer cells while limiting the impact on nearby healthy cells".

Areva announced in February 2014 the selection of Caen in northwest France as the location for its planned industrial-scale lead-212 production facility. It said that Areva Med plans to build the plant to "provide an industrial production capacity" to complement the Maurice Tubiana facility in Bessines in western France. The Maurice Tubiana facility was inaugurated in November 2013 and provides sufficient amounts of high-purity lead-212 for clinical development. The facility recovers the isotope from thorium-232.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News