With grant funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a North Texas-based firm is looking to fast-track the development of a new medical device.
With a nearly $626,000 award from the foundation formed by the Microsoft co-founder and his ex-wife, Irving-based chemical and specialty materials company Celanese Corporation says it plans to produce a refillable contraceptive implant.
“We have a long history working in the area of women’s health and are honored by the trust placed in our team through this grant from the Gates Foundation,” Laura Brand, vice president of Celanese’s medical and pharmaceutical business, said in a statement.
Prototype expected to be developed in 18 months
Using its VitalDose drug delivery platform, an implantable device for controlled drug release that’s been used commercially in the U.S. and Europe, the company said the grant funding will help it research, develop, and produce a functional prototype of the contraceptive implant within the next 18 months.
The company said the goal of the project is to help women in developing countries who lack access to modern contraception options and could benefit from more flexibility and control.
Celanese said work on the device will be conducted at its Pharmaceutical Development and Feasibility Lab, an addition to its existing research and development center in Florence, Kentucky, that the company completed last year.
Celanese’s growth fueled through acquisitions
Founded more than a century ago, Celanese has grown to around 8,500 employees worldwide, reporting $8.5 million in revenue last year.
The company operates 35 production facilities globally, with regional headquarters in Amsterdam and Shanghai.
Celanese’s growth has been fueled through acquisitions—at least one per year since 2016—with and with its announcement earlier this year that it would acquire DuPont’s mobility and materials business for $11 billion. That was ranked by Bloomberg as one of the biggest chemical deals since 2020.
“(Our team’s) exceptional execution of our business models and M&A action plan, including securing financing for the (mobility and materials) acquisition amid a challenging market backdrop, has prepared us to address, from a position of strength, some of the developing macro concerns,” said Lori Ryerkerk, Celanese chairman and CEO, in the company’s Q2 earnings report in July.
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