Federal official tours Janesville company in efforts to create American production of lifesaving isotope

JANESVILLE, Wis. – Deputy Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes was in Janesville Friday, where he toured SHINE Medical Technologies’ progress of a second building under construction.

The building, which would home to up to eight neutron generators that could produce Moly-99, an isotope with lifesaving medical purposes, is scheduled to be completed in the coming months.

“This is the first of a kind,” Menezes said. “This is the only of a kind. It hasn’t been done anywhere else in the United States.”

Menezes is currently touring several facilities throughout the country that hope to produce Moly-99. Ultimately, the department is prepared to issue federal funding to speed the process along.

“Since the very beginning, we’ve been partners with the federal government on this,” said SHINE Founder and CEO Greg Piefer. “The government’s role can really be on the front end of (research and development).”

Piefer says SHINE has applied to get the government funding, and that getting it could allow them to move further along in the process of producing the isotope faster than he had originally planned. Currently, he says SHINE hopes to produces Moly-99 by 2022.

Currenltly, Moly-99 is used in 40,000 medical procedures each day, according to National Nuclear Security Administration. However, it’s produced entirely overseas.

“We rely on a lot of products and materials that are made in other countries,” Menezes said. “When you have a global shutdown, it reveals to us the gaps we have in our own supply chains domestically.”