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Each week, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy will highlight the bold work of researchers who have received funding from the Eshelman Institute for Innovation (EII). The Eshelman Institute for Innovation is made possible by a $100 million gift from Fred Eshelman to accelerate the creation and development of ideas leading to discoveries and transformative changes in education, research and health care. To learn more about the EII’s impact, visit

Meet: Rahima Benhabbour

Project: Fabrication of Geometrically Complex Intravaginal Rings by Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) 3D Printing Technology

Funded Amount: $198,745.00

About project: Women account for more than half of all people living with HIV and over 2,800 women a day are infected with HIV. Our goal is to develop a female-controlled method for prevention using intravaginal rings. Using a state-of-the-art engineering process we will fabricate IVRs in a way that cannot be achieved with conventional engineering, i.e. injection molding and hot-melt extrusion.

“The EII provides a funding mechanism to launch and support innovative and transformative technologies. We received the first seed funding from the EII for one of our most successful technologies when it was just an idea in 2016. We now have a startup company, Anelleo, Inc., and over $M4.5 in NIH funding to advance this technology. Opportunities like this are truly unique to the EII to help us translate innovative and bold ideas to successful products.”

Researchers on project: S. Rahima Benhabbour, Christopher Luft, Sue Mecham


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