Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Announces Elevian as Winner of its North American Advance Biotech Grant

The early-stage biotechnology company was selected for its innovative recombinant protein, which has the potential to accelerate ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke recovery.

20 Jan 2022 | Darmstadt, Germany
  • 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

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, 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, Life Science at 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 Advance Biotech Grant Program of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, 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


For more information, please contact Timo Breiner

All Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the EMD Group Website. In case you are a resident of the USA or Canada please go to to register for your online subscription of this service as our geo-targeting requires new links in the email. You may later change your selection or discontinue this service.

About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, 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 KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of € 17.5 billion in 66 countries.

The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark “Merck” internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Electronics. Since its founding in 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company’s technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company.


Related News

  1. Press Releases

    Future Insight Prize 2024 Awarded to Johns Hopkins University’s Lauren Gardner

    We awarded Lauren Gardner, representing Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA, with the Future Insight Prize 2024 worth 500.000 € today.