Houston-based Procyrion’s team of life science entrepreneurs, cardiologists and circulatory support experts developed an elegant solution designed to mitigate surgery for end-stage heart failure patients, or those that fall into stage D of the ABCD classification of the American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA), and class III–IV of the New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional classification. The company’s catheter-deployed circulatory assist device, consisting of a small, continuous flow intra-aortic pump mounted within a self-expanding anchoring system, will arm cardiologists with a tool that lets the heart rest and heal without surgery. In 2013, even though heart failure statistics were grave and Procyrion had a first-mover advantage with a non-invasive approach to care, the company was virtually unknown.
Procyrion had its share of challenges. The company and its product were very early-stage. The company had not yet generated much in the way of news and its thought leadership was not being exploited. The device, which had not yet been named, had not received FDA approval nor had it been tested in humans. The company had very little funding, so the executive team requested a three-month trial campaign.
To top it off, the medical device industry itself was facing some of the biggest challenges in its history with a newly effective excise tax, regulatory uncertainties and some industry dysfunction that thwarted innovation.
THE PROCYRION PR CAMPAIGN
In developing the Procyrion PR launch and visibility campaign, we used our tried and tested methodology designed for quick results. Once the device was named, we engaged in a press release / pitch topic strategy to develop and further the Procyrion and Aortix brands. We packaged messaging that piqued the interest of medical device, cardiology and business reporters.
After the three-month trial, Procyrion continued its engagement with Penman PR for two additional years. We continued to work on building industry acceptance, visibility and awareness by announcing company and device milestones, conveying the executive team as authorities and trusted sources in the medical device industry, and building credibility for the company and its medical device through contributed and editorial articles.
The Penman PR public relations campaign took Procyrion from being an unknown to a recognized brand and its executives as medical device experts.
The Procyrion PR campaign resulted in 64 carefully placed articles in medical and cardio publications such as Today’s Medical Developments, Diagnostic & Interventional Cardiology, Medical Product Outsourcing, Medical Design Briefs, Medical Device + Diagnostic Industry, and Diagnostic & Interventional Cardiology. They also received numerous articles in local and state news outlets Houston Chronicle, Xconomy, BioNews Texas, and Texas CEO.
Within the early days of the campaign, the company won the $20,000 grand prize and the popular vote prize at NASA's Tech Briefs "Create the Future" Innovation Contest, and it scored the €30,000 grand prize at the Universal Biotech Innovation Days Conference held in Paris. The team also came in third place in the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) 2015 Innovation Award "Shark Tank" competition in San Francisco, chosen from an initial pool of 60 submissions.
To date, Procyrion has raised $50 million.
Procyrion has recently moved to the clinic and demonstrate efficacy and safety in a first in human (FIH) feasibility trial (1H16) and clinical effect in a pilot trial (1H17).
WHY PENMAN PR?
In interviewing Ben Hertzog, PhD about Penman PR he said,” Although I was cold approached by Penman PR, they proposed something I believed was realistic and made sense. They understand how startups work. They were flexible and offered a three-month try-it campaign. They did what they said they’d do in a very cost-effective way, and the PR campaign made the phone ring by individuals that have become valuable in helping Procyrion grow.”
He went on to say, "Penman did outstanding work for me at Procyrion. They got involved with the company at a very early stage – and created buzz for our first big fundraise. I can trace our relationship with and investment from Boston Scientific all the way back to an article that Penman placed for Procyrion in a cardiology trade magazine."