Petten invests in new nuclear pharmaceuticals - The Netherlands playing a pioneering role in the development of nuclear medicine


PETTEN, The Netherlands, 17 January 2019 – NRG announced today that the Kansen voor West organisation has awarded a subsidy of €6.8 million to develop FIELD-LAB. This contribution by Kansen voor West from the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRO) will help to intensify and accelerate FIELD-LAB development and implementation. FIELD-LAB is an initiative of the Advancing Nuclear Medicine consortium and is a unique breeding ground for the development of new nuclear medicine, which are expected to take an increasing role in the personalised treatment of life threatening diseases like cancer.

Growing demand for nuclear medicine
Modern scanning equipment that detects life-threatening diseases such as cancer and the advanced analyses techniques to determine the specific and sometimes genetic nature of the disease, is enabling doctors to make increasingly accurate diagnoses. As a result, more and more personalised treatments for patients can be developed, to effectively treat the disease with minimal side effects. Nuclear medicine play a crucial role in this area, both in the diagnostic field but increasingly in the therapeutic field, and the demand for radiopharmaceuticals has increased significantly over the past few years. 

Efficient infrastructure
The process of discovering and developing new innovative nuclear medicine is not easy. Access to appropriate nuclear infrastructure, the proper materials and nuclear know-how and experience are often scarce and expensive. With relevant background expertise and nuclear infrastructure in Petten, NRG can contribute effectively to the development of new nuclear medicine and formed the Advancing Nuclear Medicine consortium with seven partners as a platform to develop FIELD-LAB. FIELD-LAB is a combination of nuclear infrastructure, partly existing, partly new, in combination with NRG’s nuclear knowledge and expertise and the medical knowledge, expertise and product ideas of FIELD-LAB partners –“a one-stop-shop” – that aims to enable and shorten the development and introduction of new  nuclear medicine solutions and radiopharmaceutical drugs. In FIELD-LAB, companies and knowledge institutes can work together and combine their academic knowledge to execute radiopharmaceutical innovation projects.

FIELD-LAB’s proximity to the High Flux reactor at the Energy & Health Campus in Petten is highly efficient, for both logistic and organisational reasons. A third of the production of all commonly used medical isotopes worldwide are produced in Petten. All relevant elements for the production of isotopes and radioactive material are in place. The commitment of companies enables both acceleration of development and focus on realising actual improvements for patients.  

Global advantage
Philippe Brouwers, NRG Business Director: “To boost development EFRO has awarded NRG and partners this subsidy. Several years ago, NRG turned its attention to stimulating the development of nuclear medications. Among other things, we started collaborating with various partners such as university hospitals to draw up the plans for FIELD-LAB. 30,000 patients per day now benefit from the products we’re creating in Petten. With this subsidy, we can start realising FIELD-LAB and in that way help even more patients in the future.” Nuclear physician at the Netherlands Cancer Institute - Antoni van Leeuwenhoek in Amsterdam, Dr Wouter Vogel, agrees: “NRG’s FIELD-LAB gives us a global advantage when it comes to developing new ways of researching and treating cancer.”

Advancing Nuclear Medicine
The FIELD-LAB proposal is an initiative of NRG and its partners and is being launched under the name of Advancing Nuclear Medicine. The group believes that speeding up the development of the new generation of nuclear therapies is both an opportunity and a social responsibility. Participating organisations include the Netherlands Cancer Institute - Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Stichting Voorbereiding Pallas, Radboudumc, Erasmus MC, Amsterdam UMC, NucMed and FutureChemistry. The proposal is also supported internationally by 15 organisations, including the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) and BTG, a Canadian pharmaceutical company. The FIELD-LAB consortium is expected to take on new partners in the short term.