Keven Test

News Release

  • Experts from the company’s M Lab™ Collaboration Center to provide production and scale-up training
  • Elevian to receive in-kind products for its treatment to support and improve stroke recovery
  • The company has awarded 39 Advance Biotech grants to 39 biotechnology companies since 2014

Darmstadt, Germany, January 20, 2022 – Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced that Elevian has been selected as the North American winner of its 2021 Advance Biotech Grant Program. The early-stage biotechnology company, which is based in Allston, Massachusetts, was selected for its innovative recombinant protein, which has the potential to accelerate ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke recovery.

“Strokes are the second leading cause of death worldwide,” said Andrew Bulpin, Head of Process Solutions at the Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. “We are pleased to support Elevian in the production and scale-up of its treatment to potentially support and improve stroke recovery.”

As part of the award, Elevian will receive in-kind products from the Life Science business sector, including the CHOZN® Expression Platform for selection and scale- up, consultation services to help with upstream process development, and training provided by technical experts from the Emprove® team and the M Lab™ Collaboration Center.

Elevian is developing recombinant growth differentiation factor 11 (rGDF11) to improve recovery after stroke. rGDF11 has been demonstrated to promote functional recovery and regeneration in preclinical models of both ischemic1 and hemorrhagic2 stroke. Additionally, rGDF11 has been demonstrated to promote recovery and regeneration in preclinical models of multiple aging-related diseases including metabolic3, cardiovascular4, neurodegenerative5, and inflammatory6 diseases. Phase I clinical trials are expected to begin in early 2023.

“We are honored to have been selected as the winner of the Advance Biotech Grant,” said Dr. Mark Allen, CEO, Elevian. “The company’s extensive product portfolio, coupled with its process development and regulatory expertise will play a pivotal role in helping us scale-up manufacturing of this potentially life-enhancing therapy, and we look forward to the collaboration.”

Since 2014, the Life Science business sector’s Advance Biotech Grant Program has awarded technologies and consultation to 39 biotechnology companies. These grants have been used to support biotech companies whose missions are to help patients suffering from cancer, brain tumors, osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disorders.

To learn more about the program, visit:


  1. Ma et al. 2018; Lu et al. 2018; Hudobenko et al. 2020
  2. Anqi et al. 2019; Zhao et al. 2020
  3. Lu et al. 2019; Katsimpardi et al. 2020; Walker et al. 2020
  4. Loffredo et al. 2013; Poggioli et al. 2016; Harper et al. 2018; Du et al. 2017; Su et al. 2019
  5. Zhang, Guo, et al. 2018
  6. Mei et al. 2016; Wang, Qu, et al. 2019; Li et al. 2019; Wang et al. 2018; Onodera et al. 2017

About Merck

Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science, and electronics. Around 58,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene-editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2020, Merck generated sales of € 17.5 billion in 66 countries.

Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Electronics.

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