Merck & Co has received approval from the European Commission for Elonva, a new fertility treatment for women who have difficulty conceiving.

Elonva is the first sustained follicle stimulant to receive approval and is also the first to replace the first seven injections of any conventional daily recombinant follicle stimulating hormone treatment, due to its ability to initiate and sustain multiple follicular growth for an entire week with a single subcutaneous injection.

Elonva is indicated for controlled ovarian stimulation in combination with a GnRH antagonist for the development of multiple follicles in women participating in an assisted reproductive technology programme.

Merck Research Laboratories senior vice-president Mirjam Mol-Arts said that the European approval of Elonva is a positive step towards reducing the burden of injections for women experiencing difficulty conceiving.

The Phase III development programme for Elonva included the Engage trial, the largest double-blind fertility agent trial in IVF performed to date.