Monona’s SHINE medical co. approved for Janesville expansion

SHINE Medical Technologies to move headquarters from Monona to Janesville

A Monona-based company that creates cancer treatment elements is getting federal regulatory approval to build a facility in Janesville.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved Thursday morning a construction permit for SHINE Medical Technologies. It’s the first construction permit for a non-power utilization or production issued by the NRC since 1985.

The company intends to build a new manufacturing plant to produce molybdenum-99, which has not been commercially produced in the U.S since 1989. The product is not a new technology, but Katrina Pitas, vice president of business development, said the way it’s created at SHINE is what makes it stand out.

“We have a modern way of producing the isotopes that doesn’t use the nuclear reactor, produces hundreds of times less nuclear waste and is much more cost efficient than the old way,” Pitas said.

SHINE expects to hire around 150 employees, Pitas said. The founder of the company, Gregory Piefer, studied at UW-Madison. The company performed a national search for places to locate their new facility, but Pitas said keeping the local company in Wisconsin brings the company full circle.

“The idea that work that goes on at the university should help people throughout the state. So, this is a great example of technology coming out of the university and helping people in Janesville with great-paying jobs,” she said.

“This is the first time in over 50 years a medical isotope plant of this kind has been granted a construction permit,” Piefer said. “We’ve developed a greener, safer, and cheaper way to produce these lifesaving isotopes on a global scale. Once operational we expect the Janesville facility will improve the lives of over 1 billion people over its lifetime. It’s a very exciting time at SHINE.”

They said the new plant will enable SHINE to become the first large-scale domestic supplier of molybdenum-99, a medical isotope that is used in more than 30 different diagnostic imaging procedures. Each day in the United States alone, more than 50,000 diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures take place that rely on moly-99, creating a $500 million annual worldwide market, officials said.

“The medically important isotope, moly-99, is crucial to the successful diagnosis of cancer and heart disease throughout the world,” Dr. Richard Steeves, Ph.D. and professor emeritus of human oncology at the UW-Madison, said in a news release. “With moly-99, physicians can determine the extent to which heart disease or cancer has spread, information which is critical to successful treatment.”

SHINE expects to produce two-thirds of the nation’s isotopes Pitas said. The product decays at 1 percent per hour, making the new location across from an airport a win for the company.

Years prior to the construction approval to back a private loan to SHINE, Janesville approved a tax increment financing incentive package worth $9 million. The only city TIF agreement larger than SHINE’s was an incentive package totaling $11.5 million awarded to Dollar General last year. The company plans to build a 1 million-square-foot distribution center on the south side of Janesville.

“The City of Janesville is extremely pleased to hear yesterday’s announcement from the NRC approving SHINE’s construction permit. SHINE’s diligent efforts over these past several years have paid off, and their vision is moving forward. I eagerly anticipate their official arrival in Janesville, as they will bring new jobs, new construction, new technology, and new innovation to our growing community. The city is proud to be their partner and patiently awaits the next steps,” Janesville City Manager Mark Freitag said.

SHINE must submit a separate operating license application for NRC approval before it can operate the facility.