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This Madison-Janesville connection really Shines

From the pages of In Business magazine.

Business milestones don’t come around too often, but there are milestones and then there are milestones. The recent delivery of a neutron generator system, built by Phoenix LLC in Madison, to SHINE Medical Technologies in Janesville qualifies as a business and medical milestone. The delivery not only puts SHINE on the path to become the leading domestic producer of a medical isotope known as Molybdenum-99, or Mo-99, it puts south central Wisconsin in a commanding business position in the domestic production of isotopes used in medical procedures.

Phoenix and SHINE are separate entities but very synergistic because they have the same founder, Greg Piefer. The recent delivery represents the culmination of nearly a decade of joint work between the two companies — from proof-of concept, to proof-of-scale, and now to the development a commercial-ready unit. “What medical isotopes do in this case is provide the light source for diagnostic procedures,” notes Katrina Pitas, VP of business development for SHINE.

Toward that end, Phoenix LLC has delivered an exact replica of a machine that will produce Mo-99 once SHINE completes work on a new production facility. This unit will provide SHINE employees with operational and troubleshooting experience and enable them to develop maintenance procedures well in advance of commercial production. Construction on the new building will commence early in 2019, where the real accelerators will be installed and begin to produce Mo-99 in earnest. SHINE already has three future supply agreements, and it expects to nearly double its workforce from the current 80 to 150 once the new facility opens.

Phoenix, which makes neutron and proton generators used in the health, defense, and energy fields, also will be hiring as it builds a 10,000-square-foot neutron-imaging center in Fitchburg and a new 50,000-square-foot corporate headquarters on the same site. By investing in a new facility, the company will be able to tap into new industrial markets that, due to cost, were inaccessible. Says President Evan Sengbusch: “We need to look ahead to a larger facility just to accommodate space, not only for people but for manufacturing, as well.”

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