George Rosenkranz, instrumental in the development of hormone-based contraceptives, died on June 23, according to The Scientist. The former chemical engineer, 102, was reportedly part of a team from the Mexico City-based drug company Syntex that first synthesized norethindrone in the 1950s, a synthetic version of the human hormone progesterone.
According to The Scientist, norethindrone was initially developed to help women avoid miscarriages but became a key ingredient in the combined oral contraceptive pill. The Food and Drug Administration approved the pill in 1959 and it was reportedly prescribed more than 1 million times in its first year on the market.
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