Biomedical engineer Rahima Benhabbour’s innovative medical devices benefit marginalized women around the globe. Funded through Carolina’s KickStart Venture Services, Benhabbour’s company, AnelleO, develops polymer-based devices that are safe for use inside the human body.
In April, the Carolina researcher received $3.74 million to create an injectable technology that will provide women long-acting protection against sexually transmitted pathogens and prevent pregnancy. Notably, the injectable is also removable.
Injectable HIV prevention, 3D-printed intravaginal rings, patented hydrogel and biodegradable implants are just a few of Benhabbour’s developments.
Inspired by a project she worked on in her postdoctoral research, Benhabbour decided to make an intravaginal ring that could serve a variety of women’s health needs, from infertility to HIV prevention.
“As a woman from Africa, I wanted to find a way to help those women,” Benhabbour said. “They are so vulnerable. I wanted to create a mechanism they could use to protect themselves.”