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Start-Up to Manufacture, Supply Practical Radiation Drugs


(Gerd Altmann, Pixabay.

12 Oct. 2022. A new company formed by a technology venture investor and the Mayo Clinic aims to produce and supply more readily available radiation drug therapies. Nucleus RadioPharma has begun operations financed by $6 million in seed funds from its founding organizations Eclipse Ventures in Palo Alto, California and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Nucleus RadioPharma is developing techniques for producing a next generation of radio-pharmaceuticals, drugs containing radioactive substances for diagnostics and treatments. Radioactive elements in the drugs are kept at safe doses, where they pass through or are taken up by organs in the body. For diagnostics, radiation emitted from the drugs illuminates affected tissue and organs that are tracked externally by radiologists. Mayo Clinic provides a long list of current oral radio-pharmaceuticals for diagnostics. As treatments, most often for cancer, higher doses of radiation are absorbed by affected tumors where the radiation destroys cancerous cells.

Many of today’s radio-pharmaceuticals, according to Nucleus RadioPharma, have a brief effective lifetime, often as short as one day, requiring production of many radioactive drugs each day or for each patient. As a result, says the company, the drugs must be produced in small batches and in close proximity to patients, which drives up costs and limits their availability. Added together, says Nucleus RadioPharma, these limitations mean many patients approved for radio-pharmaceutical therapies must wait more than a month for doses to be delivered.

Connecting hospitals with radio-pharmaceutical developers

“Radio-pharmaceuticals are proving to be highly effective treatment tools across a variety of cancer types,” says Nucleus RadioPharma CEO Charles Conroy in a company statement released through Cision, “but the inefficiencies across the development, manufacturing, and supply chain have inhibited their widespread utilization. As the field of theranostics evolves, it will be imperative that we can develop and deliver these life-changing agents effectively to all patients who may benefit from their use.”

Nucleus RadioPharma says it’s creating a technology to address manufacturing and supply chain limitations affecting radio-pharmaceuticals, to make the treatments more readily available to patients. “We are building Nucleus RadioPharma,” says Geoffrey Johnson, chair of nuclear medicine at Mayo Clinic, “to be the glue that connects hospitals with radio-pharmaceutical developers, providing new hope for our cancer patients. We are particularly excited to fast track the next generation of therapies, which promise to be far more powerful and precise at killing cancer, but are even more challenging to produce and integrate into trials and clinical practice.”

Mayo Clinic’s corporate development arm and Eclipse Ventures are seeding Nucleus RadioPharma with $6 million. Eclipse Ventures invests in technology-based start-ups across a range of industries, not just the technology sector. One of its investment targets is health care infrastructure. In Sept. 2021, Science & Enterprise reported on Eclipse Ventures leading the first venture round for Rune Labs, a developer of neuroscience data collection and analytics tools for clinicians and researchers.

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