Houston-based heart-related medical device company Procyrion, Inc. recently announced the establishment of a new scientific advisory board. Appointments to the new board include several leading cardiologists and cardiovascular researchers, including Emma Birks, MBBS, PhD; Hani Sabbah, PhD; Keith Aaronson, MD and Joseph Rogers, MD.
Benjamin A. Hertzog, PhD, president and CEO of Procyrion, sought to characterize the importance of the establishment of this new board for Procyrion, and how the individuals involved will enhance the company’s vision: “These like-minded visionaries have been invited to join the board for their knowledge and expertise but also because they share our desire to improve the prognosis for the more than 1.6 million heart failure patients where drug therapy alone is no longer enough.”
Dr. Emma Birks, who currently serves as a professor of medicine and director of the Heart Failure, Transplant and Mechanical Support Program at the University of Louisville and Jewish Hospital, began her career in heart-related medical devices, having worked on ventricular assist devices in 1996 when she accepted a research position with the VAD program at the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital in London. Currently, Dr. Birks’ main areas of research focus areas on transplantation, ventricular assist devices, mechanical circulatory support, heart failure, myocardial deterioration and the molecular and cellular mechanisms of myocardial recovery. Her pioneering vision for developing a new treatment protocol to remove LVADs and maintain ongoing medical therapy for patients factors in strongly to Procyrion’s own current activities.
Dr. Sabbah is also working in academia, serving as a professor of medicine at Detroit’s Wayne State University and the director of Cardiovascular Research at the Henry Ford Health System. Dr. Sabbah’s work on basic and translational research in heart failure is internationally recognized, and he is regarded as one of the pioneers of the microembolization model of chronic heart failure. His extensive experience working with large animal models of heart failure, delineating mechanisms of myocardial disease and the recovery and pre-clinical testing of new drugs and devices for the treatment of this disease syndrome will all be a tremendous asset to Procyrion’s end goals.
A distinguished professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and the medical director of the Heart Failure Program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Dr. Aaronson’s areas of research interest involve pre-transplant risk stratification, transplant immunosuppression, drug and device therapy for heart failure, and applications of decision and cost-effectiveness analyses to problems in cardiovascular disease.
Finally, Dr. Rogers, who serves as the medical director of the Duke Cardiac Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program in Durham, North Carolina, brings a great deal of proven experience in extensive research involving the clinical aspects of advanced heart failure, including acute and chronic heart failure, cardiac transplantation, and mechanical circulatory support.
These four distinguished researchers will comprise Procyrion’s new scientific advisory board in order to augment the company’s internal team of experts, providing valuable outside evaluation on issues that arise in the continuing research and development of Procyrion’s circulatory assist device.
Reynolds M. Delgado III, MD, Procyrion founder and medical director of Mechanical Assist Devices in Heart Failure at the Texas Heart Institute, noted: “The caliber of our scientific advisory board is a testament to the potential of our technology. We are proud to have these individuals as part of the Procyrion team, and their contribution has already been felt.”