Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

B.C. medical isotope ‘trailblazer’ ARTMS fetches US$82M in Telix acquisition

Deal includes US$15M upfront cash, US$42.5M in shares and potential US$24.5M bonus
ARTMS Inc. chief technology officer Paul Schaeffer

A West Coast life sciences firm known for whipping up medical isotopes has whipped up a sizeable asking price for its sale.

Australia’s Telix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. announced Thursday (April 11) the close of an US$82-million acquisition deal for Burnaby-based ARTMS Inc.

ARTMS (pronounced like Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt) specializes in technology that produces the technetium-99m medical isotope.

The private company was spun off in 2010 from Triumf, the national particle accelerator centre based at the University Endowment Lands adjacent to the City of Vancouver.

Its goal is to address a global shortage of medical isotopes, which are used in diagnosing cancer and cardiac conditions.

"Our aim has always been to ensure key isotopes are available on demand to the populations that need them most, and joining forces with Telix is the ideal way to realize this ambition,” ARTMS chief executive Doug Gentilcore said in a March statement when the deal was initially announced.

The global supply of medical isotopes previously relied on production from a nuclear reactor in Chalk River, Ont., which produced a large quantity of a parent isotope that decayed over time to form the medical isotope.

As the costs of maintaining the reactor grew, the Canadian government halted production. 

That opened the door for ARTMS to use research from Triumf for commercial ventures.

Instead of a nuclear reactor, ARTMS has been developing hardware allowing a small particle accelerator known as a cyclotron to produce medical isotopes.

These cyclotrons are found in most urban hospitals.

“Our idea was to do that at a smaller scale and decentralize the production, which was then to offset or allay any potential widespread outages in the future,” chief technology officer Paul Schaffer previously told BIV.

Telix CEO Christian Behrenbruch described ARTMS as a “trailblazer” in the field of next generation cyclotron-based isotope production systens.

“It is our hope that by closely aligning this powerful technology with pharmaceutical development, we will transform the cost, market access and utility of diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals,” he said in a statement.

Terms of the deal included US$15 million upfront in cash, US$42.5 million in shares and another US$24.5 million in cash contingent on meeting certain clinical or commercial milestones.

With files from Tyler Orton

[email protected]