BrightSpec Tests Continuous Reaction Monitoring in Collaboration with UVA and VCU Medicines for All Institute

Charlottesville, VA—December 20, 2017— BrightSpec, in collaboration with research groups at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia, completed a successful test of MRR for analyzing and improving innovative drug manufacturing processes.  As part of the collaboration, a BrightSpec MRR Diastereomer/Conformer analyzer was installed at VCU for the near real-time monitoring of a continuous manufacturing synthesis for an intermediates in the synthesis of artemisinin. Artemisinin, an anti-malarial compound, was the basis of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded to Tu Youyou.

Work led by Drs. Frank Gupton and Tom Roper at the VCU Medicines for All Institute seeks to reengineer the process chemistry of the drugs that most impact global health.  Artemisinin is a key target due to the current high cost of production.  The Medicines for All Institute develops new synthetic routes and continuous manufacturing processes in order to lower costs, reduce waste, and improve the effectiveness of medicines. Malaria affects more than 200 million people around the world.  The BrightSpec MRR spectrometer was used to measure key stages of the new reaction process and to provide a feedback mechanism to assess critical control factors in the reaction.  The Medicines for All effort receives substantial funding from the Gates Foundation and the Clinton Health Initiative.

MRR stands for molecular rotational resonance, an innovative type of high resolution spectroscopy.  This field of chemical analysis was greatly advanced over the course of a decade of research by Brooks Pate in the Chemistry Department at the University of Virginia.  BrightSpec was formed to commercialize the discoveries from UVA.  As part of the collaboration, researchers at BrightSpec and UVA provided important breakthroughs to understanding diastereomers and conformers in the reaction—reflecting subtle and critical structural differences in the key molecules.   The Pate Group at UVA filed a new patent arising from the collaboration; the new patent is exclusively licensed to BrightSpec for commercialization. The BrightSpec/VCU/UVA research collaboration was supported in part by the Virginia Catalyst.

About BrightSpec, Inc.

BrightSpec delivers solutions for identification, quantification and structure analysis of complex chemical mixtures for applications in R&D, pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, food, and advanced manufacturing sectors.  BrightSpec received research funding from the US ARMY and the National Science Foundation, and the Virginia BioHealth Research Corporation. For more information, please contact Justin Neill (CTO) or Bob Lloyd (CEO) at 434-202-2391, or visit

About the VCU Medicines for All Institute

The Medicines For All Institute (M4ALL) operates under the auspices of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering. M4ALL’s mission is to improve access to affordable, high-quality medicines. This is done by lowering the cost of medications, both in market and in development, as well as enhancing the security of supply chains for these essential medications. The Medicines for All Institute accomplishes its mission by reducing the cost of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) — a major cost driver in treating infectious diseases in the developing world.  For more information see:

About the Pate Group at UVA

Brooks Pate is the UVA William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Chemistry.  He is innovator behind chirped pulse, Fourier-transform (CPFT) molecular rotational resonance technology.  For more information see: