GE Healthcare and NXT2B, a privately-owned venture capital company, have entered into a joint financing agreement with the goal of developing a micro-scale radiotracer infrastructure, including cyclotron and PET tracer production. The three-year development project, which will be led by GE and based in Uppsala, Sweden, will aim to develop the turnkey radiotracer infrastructure for the production of PET tracers to fulfill the needs of emerging markets, for rural and regional hospitals, and researchers.
GE's newly-developed TRACERcenter 600 is a cyclotron system, whilst the PETtrace 600 is a a radiotracer production operation system that is designed to be accommodated in additional settings. Together with PETtrace 600, TRACERcenter 600 will be capable of producing a full portfolio of F18 and C11 tracers to detect cancer and neurodegenerative disease.
While the technology of PET scanners has developed and evolved, GE believes that parallel advancements in the necessary tracer production equipment and processes have not occurred. Current PET tracer production methods are regarded as costly, complicated and require a large number of highly trained individuals. In view of the short live of isotopes, distribution is often not possible due to lack of supporting infrastructure in regions where PET imaging is expanding.