Significant grant announcement


Dear VCU and VCU Health community,

Across Virginia Commonwealth University, we have been fighting COVID-19 from the front lines. I could not be more proud of or grateful to our care teams who are saving lives, our faculty and students who are learning and innovating in remarkable ways, and our alumni and communities who are investing in our mission during this critical time.

As we continue our extraordinary work together, I am pleased to announce some exciting news. VCU’s Medicines For All Institute (M4All), founded by Frank Gupton in our College of Engineering, is now partnering with pharmaceutical industry leaders to expand manufacturing of much-needed medicines—including those that fight COVID-19—and to help prevent supply shortages going forward.

This incredible work is backed by $354 million, 4-year contract between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Phlow Corp., based in Richmond and co-founded by Professor Gupton and three-time VCU alumnus Eric Edwards, M.D., Ph.D. Phlow will incorporate M4All’s advanced manufacturing technologies to produce active pharmaceutical ingredients for desperately needed medications.

Other partners include Civica Rx, a consortium of health system colleagues focused on increasing access to generic medications in more than 1,200 hospitals nationally, and Ampac Fine Chemicals, with operations in Virginia, which produces ingredients used to make medicines.

The work we do together will immediately deliver to national supplies more than 1.5 million doses of medications that are essential to treating COVID-positive patients. These life-saving medicines will help lessen our nation’s dependency on foreign drug manufacturers, which will reduce costs and wait time for patients. Our work will also ensure that medicines will be available for future needs beyond current COVID cases.

More information is available here.

The profoundly important work we are doing during this terrible pandemic is not surprising. But it is amazing. I am continually proud of and inspired by the research, discovery, and innovations we continue do all across VCU as one of the commonwealth’s premier research universities. We are writing the next chapters of the human experience and, as is true to our mission, using what we do every day to make life better everywhere.

We are so proud of Frank, our College of Engineering, and the remarkable work they do. And Eric reminds us that a VCU education leads you to the forefront of solving humanity’s greatest challenges, especially when humanity needs you most. We are also grateful for the legislative support we have received from Gov. Northam and Virginia’s delegation in the U.S. House and Senate.

I am pleased to share this inspiring news with you, especially at a time when good news is hard to come by. But more than that, I am excited to see where we’re going next, not only with this extraordinary project but as a VCU community relentlessly dedicated to doing when humanity needs.

Thank you for all you do together, as One VCU.


Michael Rao, Ph.D.
VCU and VCU Health System