NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes has signed an exclusive agreement with GE Healthcare Systems to market and distribute Iodine-123 (I-123), a radioisotope used routinely in nuclear medicine, the Beloit-based radiopharmaceutical company announced today. Under the terms of the contract, GE Healthcare Systems' Pharmaceutical Diagnostics unit will manufacture I-123 capsules at its production facility in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Following regulatory approvals, NorthStar will retain exclusive marketing and distribution rights for the capsules, which contain Iodide I-123, a radioisotope of iodine used in diagnostic imaging for physiological abnormalities in the thyroid, including thyroid cancer, according to a press release. The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 44,280 Americans will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2021. “This exclusive sales and manufacturing agreement marks NorthStar’s strong and growing relationship with GE Healthcare, and we look forward to working with the company in meeting the needs of radiopharmacy customers and the patients we all serve,” NorthStar president and CEO Stephen Merrick said in a statement. NorthStar produces a variety of radioisotopes domestically including non-uranium molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) and technetium-99m (Tc-99m) as well as Fibroscint, all of which are used in diagnostic procedures to identify conditions like heart disease and cancer. The company is known for its ability to produce Tc-99m through its RadioGenix System, a technology that uses a chemical processing technique to create a radioactive solution containing Mo-99. That solution is then shipped to radiopharmacies across the U.S., which use NorthStar’s onsite equipment to extract the imaging agent used in medical diagnostic procedures. NorthStar is one of two companies in Wisconsin that are quickly becoming a critical component of the United State’s burgeoning medical isotope supply chain. The other is Janesville-based Shine Medical Technologies.