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Oregon Start-up Invests $50 M To Build Isotope Production Facility

An Oregon tech start-up is investing $50 million to build a isotope production facility in Missouri. The company started after a chance conversation in a Corvallis grocery store.

Northwest Medical Isotopes has notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of its intent produce molybdenum-99. The isotope is needed for scanners that help diagnose illnesses.

Company president Nick Fowler says a nuclear scientist from OSU figured out how to generate molybdenum from a small research reactor, after hearing of a shortage from a doctor at Samaritan Health.

“The cardiologist had a severe issue with being able to deliver these diagnostic tests he need for his patient,” said  Fowler.  “And the researcher at Oregon State University happened to know something about this domain, and a light-bulb went off.”

Fowler says no one manufactures molybdenum in the U.S.

He says about 68 people will be employed in Missouri but the company’s research and development efforts will stay in Oregon.

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