Chair and Professor, Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering
Virginia Commonwealth University
Frank Gupton has more than 30 years of senior executive experience in pharmaceutical science and process development. At VCU, his 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). They 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).
Prior to taking his current role at VCU, Frank was Executive Director, Process Development for Boehringer Ingelheim Chemicals, Inc. and previously held senior management roles at Hoechst Celanese. In his current role at VCU, Frank collaborates with researchers at the University of Washington, Florida State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the Medicine for All Initiative. His work is funded by a $4.4mm grant in January 2015 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in partnership with the Clinton Health Access Initiative. The grant supports the Gupton Group’s work to reduce the manufacturing cost of nevirapine, a first-line therapy for the treatment of AIDS. In June, the initiative was awarded a further $5mm grant to find ways to drive down the costs of manufacturing the AIDS drugs tenofovir and darunavir. Darunavir is known as a second-line therapy and is often prescribed once a patient develops a resistance to first-line therapies.