Medicines for All Institute co-founder elected as National Academy of Inventors fellow

B. Frank Gupton
B. Frank Gupton will be inducted as a 2019 National Academy of Inventors fellow. Gupton is co-founder and CEO of the Medicines for All Institute, which works to increase global access to lifesaving medications by reducing manufacturing costs. (VCU College of Engineering)

B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D.chair of the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering at the Virginia Commonwealth University College of Engineering, will be inducted as a 2019 National Academy of Inventors fellow. 

Gupton, the Floyd D. Gottwald Jr. Chair in Pharmaceutical Engineering, is co-founder and CEO of the Medicines for All Institute, which works to increase global access to lifesaving medications by reducing manufacturing costs. A former industry veteran, Gupton’s research focuses on improving global health care by making pharmaceutical production more cost effective and environmentally friendly. 

The National Academy of Inventors’ selection committee elected Gupton to the rank of fellow because he has “demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society,” wrote NAI President Paul R. Sanberg, Ph.D., in a letter. Fellows are nominated by their peers and selected through a rigorous process. 

“Dr. Gupton’s election as a National Academy of Inventors fellow is well-earned,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “His dedication to inquiry, innovation and the development of affordable treatments has a far-reaching impact on humanity.” 

Gupton previously held senior positions with the Hoechst Celanese Corp. and Boehringer Ingelheim before joining VCU in 2007. He and his team have earned three green chemistry awards from the American Chemical Society — the Green Chemistry Challenge Award, the Award for Affordable Green Chemistry and the Peter J. Dunn Award — for their work redesigning production of the HIV drug nevirapine, leading to increased yield, reduced waste and lowered cost of raw materials. In 2017, Gupton received VCU’s Billy R. Martin Award for Innovationwhich recognized the importance of his work on speeding up chemical reactions for the production of pharmaceuticals.

“This is clearly not an individual honor because many people supported the efforts of the patents that I’ve received over the years as well as the innovations that have come out of our laboratory,” said Gupton, an inventor on multiple patents. “I’m grateful to the NAI for the recognition of our work and look forward to becoming a fellow.”

Gupton will be inducted during the April 10 ceremony at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. 

In 2016, Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., the Alice T. and William H. Goodwin Jr. Dean of VCU College of Engineering, became the first NAI fellow from VCU.

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