Molecular Insight increasing radiopharmaceutical output

By Katrina Megget

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Atom Myocardial infarction

Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals is buying a commercial-scale
radiopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Texas for $3m as it
moves towards increasing its manufacturing in the increasingly
profitable pharmaceutical area.

The Massachusetts-based biopharmaceutical company acquired the more than 80,000 sq ft. facility from NeoRx Manufacturing Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Poniard Pharmaceuticals. The deal, which is expected to be closed in about July, reflects the company's aim of ramping up its manufacturing capacity. "Acquisition of a comprehensive radiopharmaceutical manufacturing facility is in line with our strategy to expand our options for the manufacture of our portfolio of product candidates, including molecular imaging pharmaceuticals such asZemiva andTrofex, and targetedradiotherapeutic products such asAzedra,Onalta andSolazed,"​ Molecular Insight chairman and chief executive David Barlow said in a statement. "The ability to produce our own products will complement our existing strong relationships with contract vendors. Financially, our previously disclosed cash forecasts have factored in the possibility of such an acquisition, which we believe will be operational in time for the potential launch ofZemiva." ​ Molecular Insight's lead molecular imaging pharmaceutical product candidate, Zemiva, is being developed for the diagnosis of cardiac ischemia. Based on I-123-BMIPP, a known chemical compound commercially available in Japan under the name Cardiodine, Zemiva is a radio-labeled fatty acid analog, which allows doctors to analyze the heart's use of fats as an energy source. The information gathered can identify how healthy the heart tissue is. Two multicenter Phase II trials have been completed for Zemiva, while there is an ongoing Phase II study to develop a database of normal Zemiva images of the heart using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) camera imaging. A radiopharmaceutical is a specially designed drug that consists of a molecular compound that is similar to the one normally used by cells but is tagged with radioactive atoms. When the cell absorbs the radiopharmaceutical, gamma rays are released as the unstable radioactive atoms rearrange themselves into a stable configuration. The gamma rays then allow a positron emission tomography (PET) camera to generate a picture of those cells and organs at work. The radiopharmaceutical market is a growing one. According to a report by Bio-Tech, the US market for diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals reached $1.69bn in 2005 and is expected to rise to $3.52bn by 2012. According to the same report, US sales of therapeutic pharmaceuticals reached $71m in 2005 with anticipated growth in sales to reach $1.9bn by 2012. The expected figures are attributed to the continued sales of nuclear cardiology products, and the introduction of new radiopharmaceuticals for imaging myocardial infarction and congestive heart failure and for treating lymphoma, colon, lung, prostate and bone cancers. Improvements in the FDA review process have also helped reduce the time for approval, allowing new products to be commercialized more rapidly.

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