Merck Serono provides strong support for the Fertility Innovation (GFI) fund focused on fertility research projects

  • Investment reflects company’s ongoing commitment to innovation in fertility research 
  • Globally, seven projects receive funding from this grant cycle

Darmstadt, Germany / London, 29-7-2013 — /EuropaWire/ — Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck, announced its strong support of the Grant for Fertility Innovation (GFI) fund with grants totaling up to € 4 million for the years 2013 / 2014. The announcement was made during the 29th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) currently taking place in London.

Launched in 2009, the GFI is dedicated to transforming innovative translational fertility research projects into concrete health solutions to improve the outcomes of assisted reproductive technologies (ART). In the last four years, approximately 525 applications to GFI were received from over 45 countries around the world; of these applications, 26 projects from 16 countries were awarded a grant for a total of € 6 million.

“Advancing our ability to identify, validate and bring to the clinic innovative technologies for the benefit of the patients who are struggling to conceive is a core principle of the Grant for Fertility Innovation,” said Dr. Annalisa Jenkins, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Development and Medical at Merck Serono. “By building and leveraging a global network of expertise made available through the GFI, we hope to accelerate the discovery of new science and medical innovation that may lead to new therapeutic options for people facing fertility challenges.”

Every year, the GFI awardees are announced during a ceremony at ESHRE’s annual meeting. Dr. Annalisa Jenkins presided at this year’s ceremony and was joined by Dr. Carlos Simon from Instituto Valenciano de Infertilidad and Dr. Antonio Capalbo from Genera Center for Reproductive Medicine, Rome.

This year, seven winning projects were announced during the ceremony:

  • Alice Chen – Auxogyn, Inc, San Francisco, CA (USA): Non-invasive, automated aneuploidy screening in human embryos. 
  • Mandy Katz-Jaffe and Rebecca Krisher – National Foundation for Fertility Research, Lone Tree, Colorado (USA): Improve live birth rates for women with diminished ovarian reserve. 
  • Samir Hamamah – University Hospital of Montpellier, Montpellier (FRANCE): Prospective study of the ‘Win Test’ (Window Implantation Test). 
  • Carlos Simón – Instituto Valenciano de Infertilidad, Valencia (SPAIN): Analysis and functionality of miRNAs on endometrial fluid. 
  • Marie Louise Wissing – PhD student at Holbaek Fertility Clinic/ University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen (DENMARK): MicroRNA profiling of Serum, Follicular fluid and Cumulus cells.
  • Antonio Capalbo and Laura Rienzi – Genera Center for Reproductive Medicine, Rome (ITALY): MicroRNA secretion profile analysis in blastocyst spent culture media.
  • Jie Li – The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou (CHINA): Utilization of Electrochemiluminescence immunoassay (ECLIA) for the detection of Early Embryonic Biomarkers for Embryo Selection.

Notes to editors:
Photos of the award ceremony are available on the GFI website:

About the Grant for Fertility Innovation (GFI)
Merck Serono announced the initiation of the GFI program in 2009 to support the advancement of science and innovative technologies in the fertility field. This grant is awarded every year to translational research projects that can potentially improve baby birth rate for the benefit of the patients. Each project is blinded and evaluated by a jury of experts according to five criteria: support to increase baby birth rate; innovative research; scientific rationale; feasibility and practical utility.

For further information about the GFI 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

About Merck
Merck is a leading pharmaceutical, chemical and life science company with total revenues of € 11.2 billion in 2012, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by approx. 38,000 employees in 66 countries. Its success is characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck’s operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co.
was expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.

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