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July 26, 2023

CNL announces project to significantly increase production of rare medical isotope Actinium-225, a promising new weapon in the fight against cancer

Tom Kishchuk , Chair of the Board, Fedoruk Centre; Joe McBrearty; CNL President and CEO; John Root, Executive Director, Fedoruk Centre; and Ram Mullur, CNL Vice-President of Isotopes Business, gather at the 11th International Conference on Isotopes in Saskatoon, where they announced a new agreement that will significantly increase the global supply of Actinium-225.

Agreement between CNL and the Sylvia Fedoruk Centre for Nuclear Innovation will increase CNL’s production of Actinium-225 by several orders of magnitude, enabling larger scale clinical trials 

Saskatoon, SK – July 26, 2023 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology laboratory, is pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement with the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation, Inc. (Fedoruk Centre), that will significantly increase the global supply of Actinium-225, a ground-breaking new medical isotope. CNL’s President and CEO, Joe McBrearty, announced the new agreement during his opening remarks at the 11th International Conference on Isotopes (11ICI) earlier this week at TCU Place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

While it has shown incredible potential in a number of clinical trials treating late-stage prostate cancer and other diseases, the annual supply of Actinium-225 is currently very limited, which has hampered pharmaceutical research and clinical trials related to the isotope. Under terms of the new agreement, CNL will develop and supply targets that will be irradiated by the Fedoruk Centre and returned to CNL for further processing, and then ship the material to another long-term partner, ITM, for refinement and distribution. This partnership will significantly increase the annual global supply of Actinium-225, enabling continued research and clinical trials.

“CNL is thrilled to collaborate with the Fedoruk Centre on this initiative, which will dramatically increase the quantities of Actinium-225 available to the radiopharmaceutical community,” commented Mr. McBrearty. “Following a short ramp-up phase, CNL expects to produce more than 30 times the Actinium-225 that it does today, enabling the necessary clinical research and testing to bring many promising new cancer treatments to life. The work to get CNL and ITM to this point has taken years, and I want to recognize the hard work of our staff in radiochemistry, physics, engineering, waste management, remote tooling and instrumentation.”

“The Fedoruk Centre is proud to participate in what we view as a very valuable and noble venture with CNL, which makes use of our unique facilities to help advance the production of an exciting new medical isotope here in Canada,” commented John Root, Executive Director of the Fedoruk Centre. “I also think it is important to acknowledge the federal and provincial governments, who established the infrastructure in Saskatchewan that gives us with the necessary tools and technologies to make this innovation possible.”

To produce the isotope, CNL has developed and tested targets made from Radium-226, material which has been extracted from legacy medical waste. These targets will be shipped to the Fedoruk Centre, who will irradiate the materials at the Saskatchewan Cyclotron Facility, before they are returned to the Chalk River campus for separation and processing. CNL will then ship the materials to ITM, a leading radiopharmaceutical biotech company based in Germany, who will manage commercialization of the product. CNL and ITM signed a Memorandum of Understanding in October 2021 to leverage their complementary capabilities to establish a stable supply of Actinium-225 for the global market.

Actinium-225 can be attached to ‘disease-targeting molecules’ such as specific cancer cell targeting antibodies. As Actinium-225 decays, it emits high-energy alpha particles that effectively kill cancer cells, while leaving nearby healthy cells unharmed in the process, enabled by the targeting nature of the drug entity. International interest in the therapeutic potential of Actinium-225 to treat cancer has been rising in recent years, and CNL has served as one of a handful of companies in the world that has produced research quantities of the rare material.

CNL is now working to position itself as a world leader and international hub for targeted-alpha-therapy (TAT) and for the production of the Actinium-225 isotope. The agreement with the Fedoruk Centre is intended to serve as an interim step that will bring much-needed supply to the international market.

“It is important to emphasize that this is a short-term solution that addresses an immediate need, while bringing us closer to our true goal, which is the establishment of new production capabilities so that we can fulfill the market’s long-term needs together with our partner ITM,” added Mr. McBrearty. “It is our ultimate goal to position Canada as a world leader in medical isotope technology, while advancing targeted alpha therapy and bringing hope to people around the world who suffer from untreatable cancers.”

To learn more about CNL, including its work in radioisotopes development and production, please visit

About CNL 

As Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology laboratory, and working under the direction of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), CNL is a world leader in the development of innovative nuclear science and technology products and services. Guided by an ambitious corporate strategy known as Vision 2030, CNL fulfills three strategic priorities of national importance – restoring and protecting the environment, advancing clean energy technologies, and contributing to the health of Canadians.

By leveraging the assets owned by AECL, CNL also serves as the nexus between government, the nuclear industry, the broader private sector and the academic community. CNL works in collaboration with these sectors to advance innovative Canadian products and services towards real-world use, including carbon-free energy, cancer treatments and other therapies, non-proliferation technologies and waste management solutions.

To learn more about CNL, please visit


CNL Contact:

Philip Kompass
Director, Corporate Communications

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