On June 10, Arizona Isotopes (AZI) executives, a rep from SpectronRx, and staff from The Hagerman Group conducted a site visit for U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and other local officials of a state-of-the-art isotope production and scientific research facility near Grissom Air Reserve Base in Bunker Hill, Ind. This facility is projected to bring approximately 50 new jobs to the area, and hiring is underway.
AZI’s chief operating officer and president Wade Brooksby kicked off the tour by explaining to the group that the new, 28,000-square-foot facility will soon house a 280,000-pound cyclotron machine being shipped from Belgium. The new construction is part of an expansion of a 55,000-square-foot shell building Miami County constructed in 2015 to attract new businesses to the area. AZI purchased the entire building last year, along with 20 acres of land. The shell building will eventually house smaller cyclotron machines, as well as office space and mechanical and electrical control rooms to run all the equipment. Around 8,000 square feet will be available for lease.
John Zehner, CEO of SpectronRx, which has worked with AZI for years on developing the project, said the cyclotron machine should be in place by August, but it will take months before the machine is fine-tuned and ready to operate.
Once the cyclotron is up and running, it will produce high-level isotopes used for diagnostic imaging and therapeutic treatment. In recent months, however, COVID-19 caused a major obstacle that could delay production. Engineers from Belgium where the machine was made were supposed to travel to Indiana to oversee the installation of the cyclotron, however, travel restrictions to the U.S. have prevented that from happening. Walorski told Brooksby she was aware of the issue and was working to get the five engineers permission to enter the country so the project could move forward as scheduled.
Once the machine is installed, it will be only the second of its kind in the U.S. Derek Hagan, project superintendent for Hagerman and his crew installed the first in Noblesville, Ind. for Zevacor. AZI plans to continue constructing buildings at the site and turn the area into its corporate headquarters.