Nuclear Medicine Is Big Pharma’s New Target in Cancer Race

As pharma giants spend billions on acquisitions of startups developing new ways to harness radiation in the fight against cancer, the chief executive officer of Perspective Therapeutics Inc. found himself getting top billing at two different industry gatherings this week.

The Richland, Washington-based firm has seen its value roughly quadruple to $833 million this year, swept up in the radiopharmaceuticals frenzy. No wonder CEO Thijs Spoor was being sought out by investors at the events, one of which praised nuclear medicine’s disruptive potential.

“There’s been a big pickup in institutional interest,” Spoor said in an interview.

Eli Lilly & Co., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and AstraZeneca Plc have spent almost $8 billion combined to scoop up companies developing radiopharmaceuticals like RayzeBio in the past six months. Regulatory filings show there were multiple bidders for at least two of the deals.

These therapies hold the promise of destroying tumors while leaving healthy cells relatively unscathed. Instead of delivering the radiation from outside the body, the drugs can be injected and travel directly to the tumor, minimizing damage to other tissue.