Among the collection of aspiring medical isotope production companies
looking to build facilities in the U.S., Coquí RadioPharmaceuticals
Corp. (Coquí) stands out as the only one using a design and production
method already proven in the commercial markets. Coquí is planning on
constructing and operating a dedicated medical isotope production
facility. In a recent letter to investors, Coquí noted that it is
nearing completion of the Environmental Impact Study for the facility,
which will pave the way to submit a construction permit application to
the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2015.
Medical isotopes are used in a wide variety of medical tests, including
cardiology stress tests and cancer screening. The most widely used
medical isotope in the world is Technicium-99m (Tc-99m), which is
derived from another isotope, Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99). Tc99m is used in
approximately 40,000 medical diagnostic procedures per day in the U.S.
With its short half-life, the isotope needs to be used in patients very
quickly after it is created, but it is not produced in the U.S.
International production sources tend to be older and frequently
unreliable, which can delay delivery of potentially life-saving medical
diagnostics and treatments to patients. International facilities also
tend to use high enriched uranium, which can raise proliferation
concerns. "It is very important that proven technology be used because
medical isotopes save lives. We know that the Coquí's facility will
bring a reliable domestic production source of these life-saving medical
isotopes to the United States," the CEO of Coquí, Carmen Bigles stated.
To implement this project Coquí has chosen INVAP, an internationally
recognized Argentinian firm to design and construct the proposed
facility, which will use low enriched uranium. INVAP has designed and
constructed a number of similar facilities around the world, including
the OPAL research reactor in Australia, the RA-3 in Argentina, and
others facilities that are successfully producing Mo-99 with low
enriched uranium. "When we started Coquí we looked around for the best
economically viable and reliable Mo-99 technology out there and we got
it. INVAP is the world's leading designer of Mo-99 production facilities
that use proven technology," Bigles stated.
With the use of the commercially viable and proven INVAP technology, and
preparation of the NRC application well underway, Coquí is emerging as a
game changer in the medical isotope industry.
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