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B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D. - VCU College of Engineering. Engineering West Hall, Room 403A, Richmond, VA, US

B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D.

Floyd D. Gottwald Jr. Chair and chair, Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering | VCU College of Engineering

Engineering West Hall, Room 403A, Richmond, VA, UNITED STATES

Professor Gupton's research is focused on the development of new technologies that will streamline organic synthesis

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Going with the Flow: Flow Chemistry and Breaking Barriers to Innovation:Frank Gupton at TEDxRVA 2013

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Biography

The Gupton research group is focused on the development and application of new technologies that will streamline organic synthesis through process intensification. The goal of process intensification is to increase the overall efficiency and selectivity of chemical reactions by using novel chemistry and/ or running reactions under more extreme process conditions (temperature and pressure). We are interested in applying these principals towards the development of new catalyst systems that can be used in concert with continuous chemical processing (flow reactor technology) to streamline the synthesis of pharmaceutical active ingredients (API’s).

We have developed a series of palladium catalyst systems that can be used in cross-coupling reactions for batch and continuous operations and we are currently using these catalysts in the preparation of several API target molecules. These catalysts are composed of metal nanoparticles supported on novel carbon-based platforms such as graphene or carbon nanotubes. Our group has direct access to a wide variety of surface characterization methodologies to characterize these materials which have provided fundamental insights into their unusual catalytic activity.

We are also actively involved in the evaluation and integration of continuous analytical methodologies with continuous chemical processing in order to provide real time feedback and optimization of our processes.

Industry Expertise (2)

Education/Learning Research

Areas of Expertise (3)

Cross-Coupling Catalysis Flow Chemistry / Continual Chemical Processing Organic Synthesis in Pharmaceutical Applications

Accomplishments (4)

Lifetime Achievement Award, Richmond Joint Engineers Council

2015

American Chemical Society Award for Industrial Innovation

2001

Hoechst Schultheis Fellow

1991

Merle E. Kise Award for Excellence in Industrial Research

1989, 1990

Education (3)

Virginia Commonwealth University: Ph.D., Chemistry

Georgia Institute of Technology: M.S., Biochemistry

University of Richmond: B.S., Chemistry

Affiliations (3)

  • American Chemical Society Organic Division : Member
  • Flow Chemistry Society : Member
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers : Member

Media Appearances (16)

Styrian Scientists Help to Improve Access to Critical Medicines

Pharma Integrates  online

2018-01-11

Last summer, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, VA (USA), was awarded a $25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish the Medicines for All Institute (M4ALL) and to fund the institute’s work on a wide range of essential global health treatments.

With this grant, the institute helps to lower cost and increase access to lifesaving medications for HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases around the world.

B. Frank Gupton, PhD, professor at VCU and leader of the Medicines for All Institute, has previously developed innovative models that reduce the cost of manufacturing HIV/AIDS treatments by accelerating the way the active ingredients in these medications are synthesised. The current award by the foundation will fund the institute’s work on 13 global health drugs during the next 5 years.

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SCIENCE STUDIO: Dr. B. Frank Gupton

KTEP  radio

2017-11-26

Dr. B. Frank Gupton, Virgina Commonwealth University Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering, shares details on his latest innovative research. He is focused on the development and application of new technologies that will streamline organic synthesis through process intensification. The overall interest is in applying these principals towards the development of new catalyst systems that can be used in concert with continuous chemical processing (flow reactor technology) to streamline the synthesis of pharmaceutical active ingredients (API’s).

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VCU receives historic $25 million grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Commonwealth Times  print

2017-08-29

The internationally recognized Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded VCU’s School of Engineering $25 million dollars to develop a revamped medical institute this week.

The Medicines for All Institute will be a new medical facility that will be charged with the task of creating life-saving medicine that is affordable and readily accessible for people all around the world.

Some of the medicines that are in the works include vaccines and treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

This is the second grant, following a $15 million donation from the Gates Foundation distributed over the past three years, to the institute. It is lead by B. Frank Gupton, who serves as the Chair of the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering.

In a press conference held on Aug. 24, Gupton applauded the Gate’s Foundation for investing in the future of the institute.

“The funds and the milestones on the grant are not only linked to the drugs that we are optimizing, but in how we create a sustainable organization,” Gupton said.

The institute’s goal is to speed up the process of developing certain medications that are used globally without increasing the cost.

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Gates Foundation Awards $25 Million to VCU to Expand Access to Drugs

Philanthropy News Digest  online

2017-08-28

Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond has announced a $25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in support of efforts to expand global access to live-saving drugs.

The largest grant ever from a private entity to VCU will establish the Medicines for All Institute in the School of Engineering and fund work on a wide range of essential treatments for HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases. The Gates Foundation has awarded grants totaling nearly $15 million to the Medicines for All program over the last four years, during which researchers developed a model for accelerating the creation of more efficient ways of synthesizing the active ingredients in AIDS drugs, thus lowering their costs. Medicines for All also has worked with the Clinton Health Access Initiative and other partners to transfer the new processes to manufacturers so that more drugs and treatments reach communities in need.

B. Frank Gupton, the Floyd D. Gottwald Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering at VCU, said that while grants from the Gates Foundation to date have supported work on a single drug at a time, the latest award will enable researchers to study multiple drugs in parallel. The grant also will fund the institute’s work on an additional thirteen global health treatments over the next five years.

"These funds will allow us to bring in additional senior scientists and allow them to equip their labs and staff them immediately," said Gupton. "The funds and the milestones on the grant are not only linked to the drugs that we are optimizing but in how we create a sustainable organization."

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VCU “Medicines for All” Project Receives $25 Million from Gates Foundation

Virginia Public Radio  radio

2017-08-25

Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond has received the largest private grant in history: 25 million dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The money will support the school’s “Medicines for All” research. Virginia’s Governor was on hand at the announcement. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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VCU Engineering Receives $25M Gates Foundation Grant

Virginiabio  online

2017-08-25

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering has been awarded a $25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish the Medicines for All Institute and to fund the institute’s work on a wide range of essential global health treatments. With this grant, the institute can help increase access to lifesaving medications for HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases around the world.

B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D., the Floyd D. Gottwald Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering in the VCU School of Engineering, will continue to lead and serve as principal investigator for Medicines for All. Over the past four years, the Gates Foundation has awarded nearly $15 million to Medicines for All. During this time and with this support, Medicines for All has developed an innovative model that reduces the cost of manufacturing AIDS treatments such as nevirapine by accelerating the creation of more efficient ways of synthesizing the active ingredients in the medications. The institute has also worked closely with the Clinton Health Access Initiative and other implementation partners to transfer the new processes to manufacturers so that more medications can reach communities in need.

The success of Gupton’s team was evident from the initial grant. For instance, it was able to reduce the cost of nevirapine by more than 10 percent in less than one year.

“The Gates Foundation gave us $4.4 million to work on this first target molecule,” Gupton said. “If we reduced the cost 10 percent, then the payback period on the $4.4 million would be about a year. With now sustained savings of more than 10 percent, the payback period has been even shorter.”

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VCU "Medicines for All" Project Receives $25 Million from Gates Foundation

WVTF  radio

2017-08-25

Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond has received the largest private grant in history: 25 million dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The money will support the school’s “Medicines for All” research. Virginia’s Governor was on hand at the announcement.
The Gates Foundation has already given $15 million dollars to the effort, meaning VCU has now received $40 million overall. Virginia’s Governor helped seal the deal back in January.

“I’m really proud of this, actually Dr. Gupton and I -- I was part of the pitch, one of the pitches we had, we went out to San Francisco and you would have thought I invented medicine the way I was sitting there, he gave me some great talking points," laughed the Governor during a press conference announcing the grant.

The “he” is Frank Gupton. For years, Gupton and a small team have been working on making life-saving drugs at the cheapest cost possible. They targets the active ingredients, refining manufacturing processes.

Last year, they developed a new way to make the active ingredient in an HIV drug, lowering costs by 40-percent. The Gates Foundation was so pleased they wanted Gupton to work on more than one drug at a time.

“And I said ‘No I can’t do that, there’s only one of me.’ And then they said well what if we were able to give you the funding to be able to recruit additional people to come in and work in parallel with you on other drugs,” says Gupton

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VCU receives $25M grant from Gates - VCU receives $25 million from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish new institute, increase access to medicineHide Details

Richmond Times Dispatch  print

2017-08-25

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering $25 million to create the Medicines for All Institute, a program that will seek ways to make life-saving medications less costly and more available worldwide.

The grant - which is the largest the university has ever received from a private entity - was announced Thursday at an event held at the Biotechnology Research Park's Biotech Eight building on North Fifth Street, where the institute has set up a 30,000-square-foot space.

Frank Gupton - chair of the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering at the School of Engineering - will lead the institute as it seeks ways to make medications to treat HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases more accessible by reducing the manufacturing cost.

"These are medicines for the most part that are either in the forms of generics or would-be generics," said Barbara D. Boyan, dean of the School of Engineering. "The costs of these medicines has not risen to a great extent, but to many people in the world they're still too expensive and just too difficult to have access to."

Gupton and his team have received several smaller grants from the Gates Foundation over the past three years, using those funds to make manufacturing less costly over an 18-month period for one drug at a time.

"We had to prove ourselves," Gupton said. "We went through a pretty rigorous proof of concept period for about three years where they gave us one drug after another to work on. If we didn't succeed, that check wouldn't have been written."

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VCU receives $25 million from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Virginia Business  online

2017-08-25

The Virginia Commonwealth School of Engineering announced Thursday it has received a $25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to build on its efforts to reduce the costs of lifesaving medications.

The grant will build on VCU’s Medicines for All Initiative, which has found ways to drive down the cost of three drugs used to treat HIV patients. The new grant will turn the program into the Medicines for All Institute, allowing it to grow and test multiple medicines at one time.

The grant was announced Thursday at event held at the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park, which was attended by Gov. Terry McAuliffe and VCU President Michael Rao.

The Medicines for All initiative previously received a total of $15 million from the Gates Foundation to test three drugs.

The goal of its first grant of $4.7 million was to reduce the cost of Nevirapine, a drug used to treat and prevent HIV and AIDs, by 10 percent. Researchers, however, were able to reduce the cost of producing the drug by 40 percent.

“The concept started with a simple idea to increase access to global health care,” Frank Gupton, chair of the VCU Department of Life Science and Engineering and principal investigator for Medicines for All, said of the program. “We have to use 21st century capabilities to make these drugs and make them affordable to everyone.”

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VCU awarded $25M grant, launches online MBA

Richmond BizSense  online

2017-08-25

On the first day of classes for the fall semester, administrators announced the VCU School of Engineering has been awarded a $25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – the largest grant in the engineering school’s history and the university’s second-largest.

The grant will be used to further establish the school’s Medicines for All Institute, formed in 2014 to reduce costs of manufacturing pharmaceutical products and increase global access to medications.

The institute is led by Frank Gupton, professor and chairman of the school’s department of chemical and life science engineering. Gupton was among several speakers at Thursday’s announcement, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe, VCU President Michael Rao and Barbara Boyan, dean of the school.

“I think everyone understands the challenge that we’re faced with as far as addressing this issue of access to affordable healthcare,” Gupton said.

“We’re not just here to solve healthcare problems,” he said. “We’re here to train the scientists of the 21st century.”

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Point-of-Care Technologies: Pharmacy on Demand

VASEM Report  print

2017-06-14

Ling noted that one of the applications he is particularly excited about is providing anti-retroviral therapies for Africans with HIV, a project he is exploring with colleagues at Virginia Commonwealth University. “The drugs could be delivered by drone to patients,” he
said. The VCU team, led by Frank Gupton, chair of Chemical and Life Science Engineering, has been funded by the NSF, DARPA and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation to develop flow chemistry methods that can reduce the cost of the ingredients for drugs needed to treat critical diseases like HIV, tuberculosis, and cancer.

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VCU receives $5 million Gates grant to find more cost-effective way to make HIV/AIDS drug

Richmond Times-Dispatch  print

2017-01-01

The School of Engineering received about $5 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create a more cost-effective way to manufacture Dolutegravir. It is the third such grant the foundation has awarded the school.
The lead investigator, B. Frank Gupton, professor and chair in the VCU Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering, said the drug is likely to become a first-line therapy for HIV/AIDS.

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With New Funding, VCU Professor Continues Research to Lower the Cost of Drugs

WVTF / RadioIQ (NPR Affiliate)  radio

2016-12-20

Frank Gupton used to work for a major pharmaceutical company, so he knows the ins and outs of making drugs. That means he also knows how, often, many drugs that were invented decades ago, could be created for far cheaper today. Gupton says you’d think manufacturer’s would take a look at that, but they don’t.

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What I Found Enlightening About ISPE's Annual Meeting

Life Science Leader  online

2016-10-16

In his “second career,” professor Gupton has given TED talks and received grants totaling nearly $10 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The title of his talk was “Streamlining Pharmaceutical Processes: The ‘Medicines For All Initiative,’ a multidisciplinary project he is leading that seeks cheaper and more efficient ways to manufacture drugs.Gupton noted how the cost structure between a generic and patented drug is quite dramatic.

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From mapping brains to modeling diseases

Virginia Business  

2015-08-28

B. Frank Gupton, chair of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering, is one of the state’s key innovators. He served on McAuliffe’s biosciences technology roundtable last year and recently helped form the Virginia Drug Development Consortium, a collaboration involving VCU, the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech. “We’re trying to take the innovations that are occurring at the different universities in drug discovery [and] move them down the pipeline and increase the intellectual property value of them,” he explains...

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AIDS Drug Nevirapine's Cost Reduced By Researchers

HNGN  

2015-01-08

"We completed the first phase and we've gotten the chemistry to where it's probably the lowest-cost process you could imagine, using really cheap, inexpensive raw materials and streamlining the chemistry for the process," lead researcher B. Frank Gupton said in the study. "We've reported our results to the Gates Foundation and I believe that they were very pleased with our progress." ...

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Event Appearances (5)

Streamlining Pharmaceutical Processes,

University of Richmond,  Richmond, VA.

2015-10-02

The Medicines for All Initiative

SelectBio Flow Chemistry Congress  San Diego, CA.

2015-09-15

A New Approach in Pharmaceutical Process Development

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University  Blacksburg, VA.

2015-09-04

A New Low Cost Approach for the Production of AIDS Drugs

University of Mainz  Mainz, Germany

2015-03-20

The Medicines for All Initiative

CPAC Annual Meeting  Rome, Italy

2015-03-24

Patents (3)

Production of graphene and nanoparticle catalysts supported on graphene using microwave radiation.

WO2011119961A2

2011

Production of Gupton_CV: 5/11 graphene and nanoparticle catalysts supported on graphene using microwave radiation

WO2011119961A2.

2011

Improved process for preparation of 5,11-dihydro-11-ethyl-5-methyl-8-{2-{(1-oxido-4-quinolinyl)oxy}ethyl}-6H-di pyrido[3,2- b:2',3'-e][1,4]diazepin-6-one used as HIV-RT inhibitor

US20070129542A1

2007

Research Grants (5)

Collaborative Research Planning Grant: I/UCRC Center for Rational Catalyst Synthesis

National Science Foundation $11,500

April 2014 – Feb. 2015

Development of Asymmetric Heterogeneous Hydrogenation Catalysts

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. $50,000

June 2013 - Aug. 2014

Development of Reaction Conditions for Conversion of Artemisinic Acid to Dihydroartemisinic Acid

Clinton Health Access Initiative $24,000

May 2013 – Oct. 2014

Third Generation Nevirapine Process

Clinton Health Access Initiative 

May 2012 – March 2013

High Throughput Continuous Synthesis of Strategic Anti- HIV Drug Substances

VCU Presidential Research Incentive Program Award $40,000

Jan. 2010 - Dec. 2010

Selected Articles (5)

Highly efficient and magnetically recyclable graphene-supported Pd/Fe 3 O 4 nanoparticle catalysts for Suzuki and Heck cross-coupling reactions Applied Catalysis A: General

2015

Herein, we report a facile and efficient one-step method for the synthesis of highly active, Pd/Fe 3 O 4 nanoparticles supported on graphene nanosheets (Pd/Fe 3 O 4/G) that exhibit excellent catalytic activity for Suzuki and Heck coupling reactions and that can be ...

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Selective N-Chelation-Directed C–H Activation Reactions Catalyzed by Pd (II) Nanoparticles Supported on Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes Organic letters

2015

N-Chelation-directed C–H activation reactions that utilize the Pd (II)/Pd (IV) catalytic cycle have been previously reported. To date, these reactions employ only homogeneous palladium catalysts. The first use of a solid-supported Pd (II) catalyst [Pd (II) nanoparticles ...

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The continuous synthesis and application of graphene supported palladium nanoparticles: a highly effective catalyst for Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reactions Green Processing and Synthesis

2015

An efficient, sustainable, and continuous method for the preparation of graphene supported palladium nanoparticles (Pd/G) has been developed using microwave irradiation as a heating source for the metal deposition process. The Pd/G produced from this method ...

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Microwave-assisted synthesis of Pd nanoparticles supported on Fe3O4, Co3O4, and Ni (OH) 2 nanoplates and catalysis application for CO oxidation Journal of Nanoparticle Research

2014

In this paper, we report a simple, versatile, and rapid method for the synthesis of Pd nanoparticle catalysts supported on Fe 3 O 4, Co 3 O 4, and Ni (OH) 2 nanoplates via microwave irradiation. The important advantage of microwave dielectric heating over ...

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Palladium nanoparticles supported on carbon nanotubes from solventless preparations: versatile catalysts for ligand-free Suzuki cross coupling reactions Journal of Materials Chemistry

2013

Palladium nanoparticles supported on single-or multi-walled carbon nanotubes (Pd/SWCNT and Pd/MWCNT) were prepared by a rapid, solventless method that does not require reducing agents or electric current. The method involves a straightforward process using ...

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