Joseph M. Fortunak

Joseph M. FortunakAssociate Professor of Chemistry

  • Purdue University BSc, Chemistry (1976) With highest distinction
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison MSc & PhD, Organic Chemistry (1981) With highest distinction
  • Cambridge University, United Kingdom NSERC postdoctoral fellow and Research Assistant Professor (1981-83)
Special Interests
  • Smith Kline Beecham (GlaxoSmithKline) Associate Senior Research Investigator, Senior Research Investigator, Assistant Director 1993-2000
  • DuPont Pharmaceutical Company Associate Director, Director, Senior Director, Executive Director 2000 – 2004
  • Abbott Labs Director and Head, Global Process R&D, 2004 – 2009
  • Howard University Associate Professor of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences

PRESENT POSITION Associate Professor of Chemistry with a joint appointment in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Howard University, Washington DC, USA
RESEARCH ACTIVITIES My research group is active in the following areas of synthetic and physical organic chemistry research:
– New chemical syntheses of drugs for the treatment of malaria, diabetes and HIV/AIDS
– New synthetic reagents and reactions for Green Chemistry, safety and waste reduction
– The use of ionic liquids to optimize reactions for multi-step organic reactions without workup, isolation of natural products
Engineering controlled crystallizations to provide APIs with physical properties that are optimized for formulation, bioequivalence and bioavailability
William J. Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative I am a consultant for the Clinton Foundation on HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI) and the World Health Organization; advising these organizations on pricing and production of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) as well as advising generic manufacturers of ARVs on the requirements for Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMPs), general strategies for process development and route discovery for production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs).
Adjunct Professor University of Alabama, Green Chemistry Manufacturing Institute
Scientific Advisory Board LaGray Foundation for Drug Discovery and Development for Neglected Populations
Nigerian Institute of Pharmaceutical R&D (NIPRD) Developed and taught the first training course delivered in the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS) on cGMP production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and finished dosage forms, July 11 – 16, 2005. Presently collaborating with NIPRD to develop a budget for construction of a cGMP facility to prepare APIs for antimalarial drugs and on Green Chemistry for manufacturing purposes

Head of Global Process R&D for Abbott Labs. Managed between 225 – 500 people / ~50% PhD scientists.
Prepared all Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API, drug substance) for Abbott’s Development. Responsible for route discovery, Clinical supplies, testing, process development and validation for Abbott and external customers. Manufactured several small-volume commercial products. Group consisted of four main functions.
Analytical Chemistry – Developed and validated test methods for intermediates, in-process controls and cleaning; responsible for specifications and Process Analytical Technologies.
Chemical Pilot Plants – Operated two pilot plants, a kilolab and a potent drug facility for R&D, commercial, and 3rd party manufacturing following cGMPs.
Process Chemistry – Performed synthetic route discovery and development ranging from Medicinal Chemistry to process validation for Manufacturing
Process Engineering – Provided engineering development and technology transfer with special expertise in solid state, thermo chemistry, kinetics and hazards evaluation.

Created a Process Engineering Department with expertise in separations sciences, solids engineering and process modeling. Solid State Chemistry.
Hired and integrated world-class scientists with other areas.
Utilized improved science to decrease by 80% the API needed to develop a commercial formulation.
Successfully validated processes for four New Drug Applications including the drug-device combination rapalog, the nucleotide anti-retroviral drug emtricitabine for the treatment of HIV/AIDS and the prostate drug atrasentan currently awaiting approval by the US FDA.
Founded a Green Chemistry program that won the Corporate Environmental Health and Safety Award in 2004. Team winner of the State of Illinois Governor’s Pollution Prevention Award, 2003.

Led the API team for Losoxantrone (breast cancer) including Regulatory issues, marketing application and pre-approval inspections. Led the API development team for Efavirenz, an inhibitor of HIV-1 reverse-transcriptase
Invented commercial processes for the malaria drug Halofantrine and Ropinerole, a selective dopamine D3 antagonist for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Invented the commercial process for Topotecan, an inhibitor of Topoisomerase I for the treatment of breast, ovarian and small cell lung carcinomas.
Invented the API process for Eprosartan, an inhibitor of Angiotensin II for the treatment of hypertension and congestive heart failure.

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