Ronald Betts, 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Ronald Betts

, ’73 MS, PhD

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Ronald Betts, ’73 MS, PhD, has more than 40 years of experience in pharmaceutical and diagnostics technology conceptualization, product development, approval and commercialization in two major areas: point-of-care diagnostics and drug/device combinations for localized, site specific drug delivery.

He is the co-inventor of the StatPal® blood gas, pH, electrolyte and hematocrit analyzer. Iterations of this award-winning clinical device are marketed globally.

Betts was the first to successfully utilize polylactic acid as a biodegradable, tunable drug-releasing material for coronary stent coating. He was also the first to utilize everolimus as a stent drug in humans and invented the novel antiproliferative rapamycin derivative, Biolimus®. Stents using this drug with polylactic acid coating abluminally applied were the first successful drug-eluting stents used in Japan. This product was approved for sale in the European Union as well as most Asian and Latin American countries. Today, stents incorporating some or all of these materials and technologies are utilized by several companies worldwide. These products represent the bulk of all commercial drug-eluting stents and have been used to treat millions of patients.

His current projects include synthesis and formulation of improved active pharmaceutical ingredients for balloon angioplasty-based vascular drug placement as well as novel intratumoral and topical drug delivery technologies. Betts is the author or co-author of 25 issued U.S. patents and their foreign counterparts.

Betts holds a bachelor’s degree and PhD from Iowa State University. He received a Master of Science degree in medicinal chemistry and natural products from the UI College of Pharmacy, under the direction of Dr. John Rosazza, professor emeritus.