Alachua gets its medical radioisotope manufacturer.
Alachua gains a global distinction: It’s one of just a few
places where the radioisotope Molybdenum-99 will be
produced worldwide and the only one in the U.S
After months of hand wringing, while a final decision was being made, COQUI
RADIOPHARMACEUTICALS is coming to the City of Alachua — bringing with it a $250
million production facility projected to employ 164 people at an average salary of
about $75,000. This move squarely puts the city on the map as the only place in
the U.S. and one of 3 or 4 facilities worldwide to produce the valuable radioisotope
The company incorporated in 2009 to address a worldwide shortage of Mo-99.
Working in the medical field, Coqui executives were aware of the shortage and the
subsequent impact on patients unable to get diagnoses.
In addition to medical diagnoses, Mo-99 is used in treatments for diseases such
as cancer, Alzheimer’s, renal disease and bone traumas in an estimated 18 million
procedures in the U.S. and more than 30 million worldwide every year.
Based in South Florida, the company also had considered locations in Louisiana
and Tennessee. According to a news release Coqui chose Alachua to be near the
University of Florida’s nuclear research reactor, for the opportunity to collaborate
with UF engineering and medical researchers and to be in a biotech research park.
The 100,000-square-foot facility will be built on 25 acres south of Progress Park.
Construction could begin in late 2016 or early 2017, pending an application to the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the start of manufacturing is slated for 2020.