Alliance for Building Better Medicine Receives NSF Award

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The Alliance will receive the NSF Regional Innovation Engines Development Award and $1 million in funding.

The Alliance for Building Better Medicine announced on March 6, 2024 that the US National Science Foundation (NSF) has granted the Alliance the first-ever NSF Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines) Development Award and $1 million in funding. The NSF Engines are investments that prioritize science and technology in regional economic competition. The award will add to the progress the Alliance has made in creating end-to-end manufacturing in the Richmond-Petersburg region.

Members of the Alliance that are participating in the award include Activation Capital, Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), Virginia Commonwealth University, and US Pharmacopeia (USP); however, there are 16 partners and 23 supporting organizations in the Alliance. These members include public and private sector pharmaceutical manufacturers and researchers that collaborate to scale up pharmaceutical manufacturing in the region.

In 2022, the Alliance earned a $52.9 million Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) grant from the US Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) that was match by $13.6 million from local private and public organizations (1,2). The grant allowed Alliance members to accelerate infrastructure, workforce, supply chain, and other opportunities. This growth led to applying for additional funding from EDA and the NSF Engines Program.

“There is no greater community of people than those of the Richmond-Petersburg Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing industry. Receiving one of the NSF Engine Development Awards, after the BBBRC grant award and TechHubs designation, is a resounding endorsement to continue the hard work, to push through the obstacles, to not stop until access to essential medicines needed to sustain life and concur disease is a reality,” said Robby Demeria, founding Board Chair of the Alliance for Building Better Medicine. “I could not be prouder to stand behind such purposeful, accomplished, brilliant, and dedicated volunteers on a mission to build better medicine.”

“Advanced manufacturing has the potential to revolutionize our collective ability to safeguard the US pharmaceutical supply chain, strengthen its resilience, and drive economic growth and global competitiveness,” said Ronald T. Piervincenzi, PhD, chief executive officer at USP. “As a 200-year-old, trusted leader advancing the science of quality medicines, USP is proud to join the Richmond-Petersburg Engine to leverage our experience in convening industry, academia, and regulators to tackle challenges and strengthen the supply of quality medicines.”


“The selection of the Alliance for Building Better Medicine for the NSF Engine Development Award validates the transformative developments happening in the Richmond-Petersburg region. In coordination with the Alliance and the Partnership for Petersburg, we’re growing pharmaceutical manufacturing regionally and in turn the Commonwealth’s ability to be a leader internationally. We will continue to support this important work in order to remain an impactful driver for economic competitiveness in the pharmaceutical field,” said Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin.

“The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing is excited to collaborate with Alliance for Building Better Medicine partners to drive the APM strategy for an NSF Innovation Engine in our region,” said John Milton-Benoit, president and CEO of CCAM. “We look forward to leveraging our experience in industry engagement, needs assessment, and translating needs to innovation opportunities that will grow our diverse APM cluster.”

“We applaud the National Science Foundation and its NSF Engines program for its transformative work to elevate entire geographic regions into world-leading hubs of innovation and impact. Medicines for All institute at Virginia Commonwealth University is honored to be part of the Richmond-Petersburg region and to serve as a recipient of the NSF Engines Development Awards as we work together as a focused and impactful coalition that is dramatically improving access to lifesaving medicines,” said Frank Gupton, PhD, CEO of Medicines for All.

“Activation Capital is grateful for The US National Science Foundation and the inaugural NSF Engines awards for creating an opportunity for the Richmond-Petersburg region to continue to grow, collaborate, and activate our innovation ecosystem,” said Chandra Briggman, president and CEO of Activation Capital. “The NSF Engines Development Awards provide the Alliance for Building Better Medicine a platform to further enhance our shared and unifying vision for a healthy and equitable region where everyone has safe and secure access to affordable, high-quality medicines.”


  1. EDA. President Biden to Announce 21 Winners of $1 Billion American Rescue Plan Regional Challenge. Press Release. Sept. 2, 2022.
  2. EDA. Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (APM) Cluster. (accessed March 11, 2024).

Source: USP