IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A., EURONEXT), the world leader in particle accelerator technology, and the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK CEN today announced the name of their joint-venture: Pantera SA/NV, which they believe will bring new hope for cancer patients. As indicated in the announcement of the R&D strategic partnership, this new company will aim to secure the large-scale production of actinium-225 (225Ac), one of the most promising alpha-emitting radioisotopes to fight cancers. By working towards this large-scale production, Pantera’s ultimate goal is to improve the accessibility of a future innovative cancer therapy based on 225Ac.
The complementarity of IBA and SCK CEN’s expertise has been demonstrated by the extensive and comprehensive R&D work that has been conducted during the last year as they work towards being able to produce large volumes of 225Ac. Pantera is now completing the technical feasibility studies before working on the final design and construction of its first facility in Mol, Belgium. Groundbreaking is expected to take place in 2024, with production starting in 2027.
Sven Van den Berghe, former Director of the Nuclear Materials Science Institute at SCK CEN, has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer, and Samy Bertrand, former technical leader for theranostics applications at IBA, takes the position of Chief Technical Officer.
Bruno Scutnaire, President of IBA RadioPharma Solutions and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Pantera, said: "Actinium-225 offers great promise for the treatment of a large variety of cancers, but only very little of the material is available worldwide today. Once cancer treatments based on 225Ac receive approval, Pantera will focus on enabling access to a dependable supply of this promising isotope."
Peter Baeten, Deputy Director-General of SCK CEN and Board member of Pantera, commented: "Launching Pantera was a logical choice for SCK CEN and IBA, allowing the joint-venture to leverage the innovative capabilities of both organizations, whilst utilizing the speed of an autonomous startup necessary in this fast-evolving field."
Sven Van den Berghe, appointed Chief Executive Officer of Pantera, added: "I am excited about the opportunity to help advance the mission of Pantera to bring a new hope for cancer patients by enabling the widespread use of radioisotopes, such as actinium-225, as a basis for promising new radiopharmaceuticals. Pantera offers ’A better fight for life’, potentially bringing an effective and efficient treatment option while maximizing the quality of life of the patients, with the possibility to expand the production to other isotopes in the future."
Actinium-225 possesses the resounding potential to treat cancers more effectively. Initial results show that the theranostic radioisotope completely eliminates cancer cells, rather than just inhibiting tumour growth. The risk of recurrence also appears to decrease. To date, extensive research and numerous studies are underway which aim to tackle both high prevalence cancers including prostate, lung, colon, breast, pancreatic, blood (leukemia and other rare forms) and kidney cancers, but also rarer forms of cancer like glioblastoma, the deadliest form of a very invasive brain cancer.