Merck Healthcare

Merck Serono Awards Grant for Growth Innovation (GGI) for the First Time

Darmstadt, Germany (ots/PRNewswire) -

- The first grants awarded to coincide with the 53rd European Society for
  Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE) Meeting
- Investment supports innovative projects for the advancement of science and
  medical research in the field of growth

Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck, today announced the first recipients of the Grant for Growth Innovation (GGI) for 2014. The awards were announced during a Satellite Symposium organized by Merck Serono at the 53rd European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE) Meeting currently taking place in Dublin, Ireland.

Sixty applications were received from 19 countries and reviewed by an independent Scientific Steering Committee composed of internationally renowned endocrinologists and chaired by Professor Christian Strasburger, Head of Clinical Endocrinology at the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Following a rigorous selection process three awards have been granted to support innovative projects in Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Leo Dunkel, MD, PhD

Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

Title: Defining the role of fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) in the pathogenesis of growth hormone resistance and subsequent growth failure in chronic childhood conditions.

Julian Lui Ph.D.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Bethesda, MD, USA

Title: Cartilage-Targeted Therapeutics for Growth Disorders

Lars Sävendahl, MD, PhD

Karolinska Institute and University Hospital, Solna, Sweden

Title: Early prediction of long-term growth response to GH treatment; Evaluation of a newly developed technique based on magnetic resonance imaging of the tibia growth plate

"The Grant for Growth Innovation reflects Merck Serono's commitment to innovation which we believe is the foundation of our efforts to advance new possibilities in the treatment of disorders of human growth," said Steven Hildemann, Global Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Medical Affairs and Global Drug Safety at Merck Serono. He added: "Identifying and supporting forward thinking researchers in the field of growth, helps us achieve our collective goal to advance our understanding of this therapeutic area and deliver better outcomes for patients living with growth disorders."

Notes to editors

Photos of the awards ceremony will soon be available under

About the Grant for Growth Innovation (GGI)

Merck Serono announced the initiation of the GGI program in 2013 to support the advancement of understanding of the field of growth. A total grant of up to EUR400,000 will be awarded to one or more selected projects. Each application was blinded and evaluated by a Scientific Steering Committee composed of internationally renowned endocrinologists, according to five criteria: innovation; scientific rationale; clarity; feasibility; and impact of research.

For further information about the GGI and how to apply for next year's grants, please visit

About Merck Serono

Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical division of Merck. With headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, Merck Serono offers leading brands in 150 countries to help patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, endocrine and metabolic disorders as well as cardiovascular diseases. In the United States and Canada, EMD Serono operates as a separately incorporated subsidiary of Merck Serono.

Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines of both chemical and biological origin in specialist indications. We have an enduring commitment to deliver novel therapies in our core focus areas of neurology, oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology.

For more information, please visit

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Merck is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. With its four divisions Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Performance Materials and Merck Millipore, Merck generated total revenues of EUR11.1 billion in 2013. Around 39,000 Merck employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to further the success of customers and to help meet global challenges. Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company - since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70 percent interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany is holding the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company is known as EMD.


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