Fighting Cancer: Orano Med Initiates Construction of a Laboratory in France for Alpha Therapy

On February 2, 2024, Orano Med, a subsidiary of Orano, laid the foundation stone for its Onnaing laboratory in Hauts-de-France. The Alpha Therapy Laboratory (ATLab) will be the first pharmaceutical facility of industrial scale in Europe dedicated to the production of targeted internal radiotherapies using lead-212.

Twelve years after the completion of the first clinical trial, which showed that the injection of a molecule marked with lead-212 did not present toxicity problems in humans [1], Orano Med is accelerating its efforts. The construction of the ATLab marks “a major step towards making these promising new treatments available to patients in therapeutic deadlock,” Orano announced. The facility, spanning over 3,000 square meters, represents an investment of 29 million euros, while Orano Med is expected to inaugurate a similar facility in the United States in 2024 in Indianapolis for the American market. Given the half-life of lead-212 (10.6 hours), the treatment must be produced close to hospital facilities, which is why Orano is considering the construction of additional ATLabs “to meet the global needs of patients.”

Alpha therapy involves “combining the natural ability of biological molecules to target cancer cells with the tumor-destroying potential of alpha emissions generated by lead-212.” It thus allows for the destruction of cancer cells while limiting the impact on the surrounding healthy cells.

“We are convinced that targeted internal radiotherapies will become indispensable in the short term in the fight against cancer. As the phase II clinical trial of our most advanced drug, AlphaMedix, concludes, we are building a global industrial platform to ensure the production and distribution of these treatments on a large scale,” stated Julien Dodet, President of Orano Med.■

Gaïc Le Gros (Sfen)

Photo: ©Orano

[1] September-October 2026, Revue générale nucléaire, n°5.