Actinimum-227 is needed for the production of the active ingredient in prostate cancer treatment Xofigo.

It sounds unusual for the US Department of Energy (DoE) to be involved in a pharmaceutical manufacturing project, but perhaps not when considering the drug is based on a radioactive element.

Bayer’s drug Xofigo® (radium Ra 223 dichloride) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2013 for the treatment of patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), symptomatic bone metastases and no known visceral metastatic disease. CRPC is an advanced form of prostate cancer, and approximately 90% of patients develop bone metastases that lead to an increased risk of death.

Radium 223 dichloride is an alpha particle-emitting radioactive therapeutic agent, and Xofigo is considered a radiopharmaceutical. It is delivered via injection. As Xofigo receives approvals in other countries, demand for the drug is expected to climb. Bayer is taking steps to ensure that it can supply the quantities of the drug that will be needed. That means finding a reliable source of actinium-227 (227Ac), the key radioisotope used in the production Radium 223 dichloride. Actinium-227 is also a key ingredient for the production of Bayer's investigational Targeted Thorium Conjugate (TTC) Clinical platform.

To that end, Bayer recently announced that the US DoE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory will produce 227Ac as part of a long-term contract between Bayer and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Isotope Program. The DOE Isotope Program produces high priority isotopes for the US, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory is DOE's largest science and energy laboratory.