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Corporate Overview

The Standard – July 2015

CIL Isotope Separations, LLC (CIS)

Cambridge Isotope Laboratories (CIL) is recognized as the world leader in the separation of Carbon-13 (13C) and Oxygen-18 (18O) stable isotopes.  In the 1980s, CIL took the initiative to construct the world’s largest 13C isotope-separation plant, CIL Isotope Separations, LLC (CIS), located in Xenia, Ohio, in order to provide a sufficient supply of 13C starting materials to support development of new research and diagnostic chemicals.  In 2013, CIL embarked on a significant expansion of its 13C production capacity and maintains its leadership position in the separation of 13C with a current production capacity of more than 420 kg of 13C per year.
13C is a non-radioactive (stable) element which makes up approximately 1% of all carbon atoms in nature. At the CIL plant in Ohio, natural carbon monoxide (containing ~1% 13C) is cryogenically liquefied and then distilled through several kilometers of special stainless-steel columns, which make it one of the world’s longest distillation systems of any kind. The end product of this process is carbon monoxide which is greater than 99% 13C. This enriched carbon monoxide is then shipped to the laboratories in Andover, Massachusetts, to be processed into any of several thousand stable-isotope labeled chemicals.
In 2000, CIL reacted to the worldwide shortage of 18O water by embarking on the construction of the world’s largest 18O isotope-separation facility also housed at the CIS location. Responding to the increasing needs of the nuclear medicine community, CIL has increased production capacity of 18O multiple times since 2000. CIS currently holds a production capacity of more than 420 kg of 18O per year. Natural abundance of 18O is approximately 0.2%. The CIS plant is designed to distill natural water to >95% 18O, a process taking several months to reach final enrichment. Additionally, CIS has the ability to re-enrich 18O water that has been reduced in enrichment after use in F-18 cyclotron production. 18O labeled starting materials can be used to incorporate stable isotope labeling into molecules that are otherwise unable to utilize 13C. 18O water is extensively used in positron emission tomography (PET) and energy-expenditure studies.
Alongside 13C and 18O production, the CIS facility houses the world’s only commercial D2O enrichment columns, allowing the ability to perform large-scale production of deuterium gas and deuterated reagents.
CIL is the world’s leading producer of stable isotopes and stable isotope-labeled compounds for analytical and research applications. Having complete process control of stable isotope starting materials ensures inventory of needed synthetic precursors, and allows tight control over the product quality demanded by CIL. 


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