ARTMS Products Inc. and GE Healthcare Team up to Expand Cyclotron Produced Radioisotopes and Address Longstanding Radiopharmaceutical Supply Concerns in Medical Imaging

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, ARTMS Products, Inc. announced they have signed a strategic partnership with GE Healthcare around ARTMS’ proprietary QUANTM99 TM Irradiation System (QIS TM) for radioisotope production. The goal of the partnership is to supply equipment, technologies and research that supports the production and processing of radioisotopes on GE’s PETtrace TM 800 platform of medical cyclotrons. The QIS TM integrates on to the GE PETtrace TM 800 series cyclotron to enable an alternative, non-reactor supply of valuable medical isotopes including technetium-99m, copper-64, gallium-68 and zirconium-89.

The strategic partnership includes an agreement for ARTMS to supply and install Europe’s first QUANTM TM system and research into expanding the number of available isotopes produced on GE’s PETtrace TM 800 series medical cyclotrons. ARTMS will work with GE to optimize the production and processing of isotopes such as copper-64 and gallium-68.

The QUANTM TM system has already proven concept and received numerous awards for its leading edge technology in the area of technetium-99m (Tc-99m) production. Every year Tc-99m is used in over 80% of all nuclear medicine imaging procedures in areas such as cardiology, oncology, and neurology. Recently, Tc-99m produced with the QUANTM TM system was used to complete a Canadian multi-centre registration trial in bone imaging and thyroid function.

In the future it is the intent of ARTMS and GE to continue to offer the QUANTM TM system to new and existing PETtrace TM cyclotron customers on a global basis. Customers will benefit directly from the intellectual property, know-how, trade-secrets and regulatory package that ARTMS has developed.

“The commercialization of the core technology behind the QUANTM TM system represents a significant milestone for ARTMS," said Dr. Paul Schaffer, CEO of ARTMS. “The first installation of QUANTM TM in Europe is due to the dedicated team of individuals behind this technology. Both staff and management of ARTMS are certainly very excited about the future that lies ahead for the company.”

“By utilizing ARTMS’ QUANT99 TM system, our customers—cyclotron owners and operators—are open to producing additional high-value radioisotopes on their GE PETtrace TM cyclotrons,” said Erik Strömqvist, General Manager of Cyclotrons and TRACERcenter, GE Healthcare. The QUANTM TM technology provides users with a local, reliable and non-reactor supply of important medical isotopes such as Tc-99m to ensure that patients can get the diagnostic imaging scans they require.”

The QUANTM TM technology includes all the required products and procedures for the production of Tc-99m using GE’s PETtrace cyclotrons and enables the production of other valuable isotopes through the bombardment of a high-energy proton beam against specific chemical ‘targets’. The worldwide installed base of cyclotrons exceeds 550 units with approximately 40 – 50 new units per annum. ARTMS is the world-wide leader in the development and commercialization of this novel technology.

The ARTMS process provides a cost-effective alternative to reactor-based technology. The technology produces no long-lived radioactive waste and advances efforts to eliminate the use of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium (HEU) in radioisotope production around the world.

About ARTMS Products, Inc.
ARTMS Products Inc. is a leader in the development of novel technologies and products which enable the production of the world’s most-used diagnostic imaging isotope, technetium‐99m (Tc‐99m), using local, hospital-based medical cyclotrons. ARTMS holds the exclusive global commercialization rights to award-winning and proprietary Canadian inventions which address these challenges and which offer the prospect of revolutionizing the nuclear medicine industry. Visit our website at www.artms.ca.

About GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services to meet the demand for increased access, enhanced quality and more affordable healthcare around the world. GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter - great people and technologies taking on tough challenges. From medical imaging, software & IT, patient monitoring and diagnostics to drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies and performance improvement solutions, GE Healthcare helps medical professionals deliver great healthcare to their patients. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at www.gehealthcare.com.

Contacts

ARTMS Products, Inc.
Paul Schaffer, PhD, 604-222-7696
CEO
schaffer@artms.ca
or
GE Healthcare
Alexandra Scoptur, 414-217-7914
Public Relations
Alexandra.Scoptur@ge.com

TRIUMF building a new home for nuclear medicine in Vancouver to become leader in niche market of medical isotope production

Most Canadians received a rude introduction to the exotic world of medical isotopes in 2009, when a nuclear reactor located in the small Ontario town of Chalk River went off-line. This single breakdown eliminated the source material for almost half of the world’s output of technetium-99, a radioactive element used in millions of cancer imaging scans every year. Spot shortages forced many doctors in Canada and the US to postpone these diagnostic procedures, which are crucial to determining a patient’s status and course of treatment.

While this crisis was relatively short-lived, it shone a very public spotlight on the critical role that radioactive materials play in a variety of medical settings. Organizations with the facilities and expertise in this field subsequently took the opportunity to develop new strategies for their work.

Perhaps nowhere has this planning been more ambitious than TRIUMF, a joint venture owned and operated by 20 member universities that covers five hectares on the University of British Columbia campus and is home to a sophisticated array of cyclotron technology.

TRIUMF is in the midst of a multi-year effort to establish an Institute for Advanced Medical Isotopes (IAMI), which would feature major infrastructure for creating and handling these radioactive products, as well as laboratories for testing them in scientific and clinical settings. While similar work takes place in a variety of university and hospital settings across the country, this facility is intended to concentrate all aspects of such work — from the creation of raw materials to clinical trial work of potential therapies — in a single location.

The backbone of IAMI will be a cyclotron, a room-sized instrument that accelerates streams of protons to high velocities and drives them into targets made of specially selected elements, which in turn spawns radioactive versions of other elements. Dozens of hospitals across the country already have medical cyclotrons, which provide isotopes such as those injected into patients for procedures like PET scanning, which offers highly detailed imagery and biochemical information about what is happening in a living person’s body.

TRIUMF hosts Canada’s most extensive collection of cyclotrons and affiliated laboratories, featuring one machine installed in the late 1960s that is still the largest in the world. Since it was created in 1968, TRIUMF has received more than $1 billion in investment from the federal and British Columbia governments and works in partnership with government, academia, independent research organizations, and industry on a wide range of projects in Canada and abroad. On any given day nearly 600 scientists, engineers, or technicians can be found at TRIUMF, including students and external investigators.

According to Paul Schaffer, who oversees TRIUMF’s Life Sciences division, the potential value of medical isotopes — financially as well as in terms of human health — has made them a top priority that is now being reflected by the establishment of a dedicated R&D body. He recalls first floating this idea to a colleague in 2012, during a casual conversation outside his office while unlocking his bicycle. The suggestion took off and is on its way to becoming the $35.5-million capital undertaking that is IAMI. The facility is intended to serve as an interface between TRIUMF’s deep and extensive expertise in isotope production and the wider national and international nuclear medicine communities.

“TRIUMF is at a sweet spot,” says Schaffer, who argues that decades’ worth of academic work on the design and application of cyclotrons has positioned the organization to lead the way in what has become a strategic niche of nuclear medicine. “With isotope production dramatically shifting, we’re still trying to keep up with the innovations of this place.”

TRIUMF has already raised $11 million to build IAMI, which is expected to occupy a new 2,500 sq-m building with its own research infrastructure and laboratories within the next few years. That money started showing up in 2014, when Western Economic Diversification Canada invested $5.5 million toward the purchase of a state-of-the-art cyclotron from Richmond, BC manufacturer Advanced Cyclotron Systems. The rest of the necessary funding is being sought from provincial and federal government agencies in collaboration with IAMI’s three regional partners — UBC, BC Cancer Agency, and Simon Fraser University.

“Because it benefits British Columbia but also the nation, it seemed appropriate to us that responsibility could be divided between the federal and provincial governments,” says TRIUMF Director Jonathan Bagger, who points to the member universities across the country and other research partners that will eventually be able to take advantage of IAMI’s capabilities.

In contrast to many academic or engineering R&D efforts, those capabilities will also include Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), which means products developed at IAMI will already meet Health Canada’s standards for use in patients. Kathryn Hayashi, who leads the commercialization arm known as TRIUMF Innovations, regards the establishment of GMP facilities as a game-changing move that will allow the institute to support clinical trials for the next generation of radioactive pharmaceutical agents that are just starting to be studied.

“There is new interest in nuclear medicine in the drug development world and we’re well positioned to be a part of that story,” she says. “The space would allow industry partners, other academic researchers, and clinicians to interact at TRIUMF as part of this hub in a way that we haven’t been able to do before.”

 

ARTMS Wins BC Tech Association Technology Impact Award

ARTMS Products Inc. Wins ‘Most Promising Pre-Commercial Technology’ at BC Tech Association Technology Impact Awards

TRIUMF Innovations spin off wins for development of innovative production solution for diagnostic imaging isotope

Newswise — ARTMSTM Products, Inc. (ARTMS), a Vancouver-based medical technology company, today announced they received “Most Promising pre-Commercial Technology” award at the 2017 BC Tech Association Technology Impact Awards (TIAs) on June 22, 2017. The award is given to a company in any stage of growth for a pre-commercial technology in development that has the potential to commercialize within five years.  

ARTMS is one of five spin off companies founded by TRIUMF Innovations, the commercialization arm of TRIUMF, Canada’s particle accelerator centre located in Vancouver, BC.

ARTMS was recognized at the 2017 TIAs for its innovative production solution for technetium-99m (Tc-99m), the world’s most-used diagnostic imaging isotope. It is used in more than 80% of all nuclear medicine imaging procedures and is vital to patient care in areas such as cardiology, oncology, and neurology. ARTMS’ breakthrough technology enables a reliable, cost-effective, and safe supply of this critical medical isotope using common hospital-based and commercial cyclotrons, a type of particle accelerator. ARTMS’ decentralized solution offers the potential to revolutionize medical isotope production by providing a means to produce Tc-99m locally and on-demand at hospitals, clinics, and radiopharmacies that already have medical imaging infrastructure in place. This cyclotron-based production approach provides an alternative to sourcing Tc-99m from nuclear reactors, many of which are ageing and increasingly unreliable, resulting in significant Tc-99m supply disruptions in recent years.

“The development and rollout of the core technology behind ARTMS represents a huge success for British Columbia’s technology sector, especially in the area of particle accelerators applied to medicine," said Dr. Paul Schaffer, CEO, ARTMS. “TRIUMF and TRIUMF Innovations have been instrumental in helping us get to this stage of commercialization of the Tc-99m production solution, and winning the TIA is further reinforcement that we are moving in the right direction.”

“We are delighted that the BC Tech Association has recognized the ground breaking, important work that Paul and his team do at ARTMS and congratulate them on this well-deserved award,” said Kathryn Hayashi, CEO, TRIUMF Innovations. “TRIUMF continues to produce world leading, innovative technologies in the field of accelerator-based science, and ARTMS is at the forefront of our efforts to take these technologies to market.”

The TIAs were founded in 1994 by the by the BC Tech Association, to recognize successes of the technology industry in British Columbia and its companies, people and products.  The TIAs are the longest-running and largest technology award program in BC, presented in June in front of an audience of more than 1,000 technology leaders and industry supporters.

ABOUT ARTMS Products, Inc. ARTMS™ Products Inc. is a leader in the development of novel technologies and products which enable the production of the world’s most-used diagnostic imaging isotope, technetium‐99m (Tc‐99m), using local, hospital-based medical cyclotrons. ARTMS holds the exclusive global commercialization rights to award-winning and proprietary Canadian inventions which address these challenges and which offer the prospect of revolutionizing the nuclear medicine industry.

About TRIUMF Innovations Inc. TRIUMF Innovations Inc. is the commercialization arm of TRIUMF –  Canada’s particle accelerator centre – focused on linking cutting-edge science and technology to tangible business opportunities. TRIUMF Innovations interfaces with the business world by providing market opportunities for applied physics-based technologies that emerge from the TRIUMF network; by streamlining access to TRIUMF’s world-class expertise and infrastructure; and by connecting TRIUMF researchers and technologies to the world via industry partnerships, licensing, and business development.

Dr. Paul Schaffer accepts the BC Tech Association TIA on behalf of ARTMS.

Dr. Paul Schaffer accepts the BC Tech Association TIA on behalf of ARTMS.

From Research to Reality: TRIUMF Innovations to Unleash Canada’s World-Leading Capabilities in the Physical Sciences

Innovations emerging from the physical sciences have transformed our modern world. TRIUMF – Canada’s national particle accelerator laboratory – today announces the formation of TRIUMF Innovations, the laboratory’s new commercialization arm.

TRIUMF Innovations will connect science with society, translating Canada’s world-leading capabilities in the physical sciences into commercialized innovations for the benefit of all Canadians. 

TRIUMF Innovations will serve as a national commercialization engine/accelerator focused on applied physical sciences. It will actively connect academic researchers, industry partners, government stakeholders, and trainees, accelerating the commercialization of innovative physical sciences technologies from TRIUMF and partner institutions.

“Successful commercialization links science with real, measurable improvements in the lives of Canadians,” says TRIUMF Director Dr. Jonathan Bagger, “and TRIUMF Innovations is key to unleashing the commercialization potential of a sector where Canada has long been a world leader in research.” 

TRIUMF Innovations will be TRIUMF’s primary business interface, responsible for all of the laboratory’s commercialization activities. It will leverage the talent, experience, and capacity of TRIUMF – as well as its national network of 19 member universities – to unleash the untapped potential of Canada’s physical sciences community.

TRIUMF Innovations has successfully recruited a new CEO, Ms. Kathryn Hayashi, who has extensive experience in commercialization and operation of incubator/accelerator operations. 

“Until now, the advanced physical sciences has remained underdeveloped from a business perspective. TRIUMF Innovations has an important role to play in offering this business capability to its national cluster of members and collaborators,” says Hayashi. “With the infrastructure, expertise, and network we have aligned, TRIUMF Innovations is positioned to be the go-to place to explore business opportunities related to the physical sciences and translate ideas into impactful innovations.” 

A new Board of Directors has been assembled that includes highly experienced members from accelerators, industry, and the investment community: TRIUMF Innovations Board Chair Ms. Karimah Es Sabar (CEO of Quark Venture, and Former CEO of CDRD), Dr. Mike Abrams (Former Executive VP and Managing Director Arbutus Biopharma, Former CEO of AnorMed), Dr. Jonathan Bagger (Director, TRIUMF), Dr. Don Brooks, (Former AVP, Research & International, University of British Columbia), Dr. Pierre Coulombe (Former President, NRC), Mr. Haig Farris (President, Fractal Capital and Founder, D-Wave), Dr. Colin Jones (Former AVP, Research, Simon Fraser University), Mr. Sylvain Lévesque (VP Corporate Strategy, Bombardier), and Mr. Parimal Nathwani (VP Commercialization, MaRS Innovation).  

Full bios can be found at https://www.triumfinnovations.ca/team/

"The collective expertise of the Management and Board of TRIUMF Innovations in translating and commercializing early stage technologies, combined with the world leading scientific team at TRIUMF establishes a powerful innovation engine in this sector" says Es Sabar, TRIUMF Innovations Board Chair and CEO of Quark Venture.  "This could significantly improve the impact of the physical sciences sector on economic development in Canada; an area in which Canada is already a world leader."

As a national endeavor, TRIUMF Innovations’ commercialization capabilities will be focused on:

• Assessing, triaging and validating technologies suitable for commercialization

• Preparing business cases and assembling investor-ready presentations and diligence packages

• Creating companies and enabling investment

• Engaging and developing entrepreneurs

• Establishing, developing and maintaining successful industry partnerships with SMEs and MNEs

• Out-licensing TRIUMF technologies and providing a business interface for TRIUMF sales and services to private sector companies and investors

 

You can find the published newswire story here:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/from-research-to-reality-triumf-innovations-to-unleash-canada-s-world-leading-capabilities-in-the-physical-sciences