SynCardia Systems Acquires Total of $19M in Recent Funding

SynCardia Systems had recently put together a total of  $19 million in new investments. They gained $15m worth of structured financing from Athyrium Opportunities, and $4 million came from their existing shareholders.

The company’s Vice President of Communications Don Isaacs tells us more about this recent funding in this e-interview with Lead411:

Who are your competitors and how are you different from them?

As the world’s first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE (Europe) approved Total Artificial Heart, the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart has no direct competitors. The only other artificial heart to receive FDA approval is the AbioCor replacement heart from AbioMed, which is no longer being marketed by the company. In September 2006, the AbioCor received approval through a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE), which limited implants to a maximum of 4,000 per year and only required the device to demonstrate “probable benefit” versus “effectiveness”. The AbioCor was implanted a total of 15 times (14 during the FDA study). In a November 2009 article in the Boston Globe, AbioMed’ S CEO Mike Minogue said, “I consider this thing the sports car you watch on television, but you can’t buy from your dealer.”

What percentage of your marketing budget is spent on the following?

A. Advertising – 10%

B. Social Media Marketing – 10%

C. SEO – 10%

D. PR/Direct Marketing – 65%

E. Other – 5%

What marketing tactic has given you the highest ROI? What percentage ROI do you get back on this?

PR/Direct Marketing has given us the highest ROI because it positively impacts the company in multiple ways:

·         Results in local, regional and national news coverage of human interest stories, which creates positive exposure for the company, our products and our hospital customers

·         Catches the attention of new customers while highlighting the achievements of our current customers and may stimulate competition among hospitals in the same market

·         Provides third-party endorsement of our products and our company

·         Drives visitors to the SynCardia website and social media pages

·         Bolsters our HR recruiting by attracting a large pool of qualified candidates who want to work for our company

·         Results in prestigious awards from highly-regarded organizations and publications including Forbes, Fast Company, Inc. and the Medical Design Excellence Awards

What do you plan to spend your new funding on? Product development? Marketing?

The proceeds of the financing will help support commercialization of our Freedom® portable driver, the world’s first wearable power supply for the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart, and accelerate the launch of our new, smaller 50cc Total Artificial Heart, designed for patients of smaller stature, including women and adolescents.

If this is your first round of financing and you’re the CEO, how many hours did you put into working on getting your financing? Was that taking up the most of your day?

No, it is not our first round of financing.

If you are the CEO, what are your biggest challenges?

For Michael Garippa, SynCardia’s Chairman/CEO/President, one of the biggest challenges has been dispelling the myths that surround the Total Artificial Heart. The device was first implanted in 1982 into patient Barney Clark, who survived for 112 days but suffered multiple complications. Many people falsely believe the Total Artificial Heart was not successful and that the technology was abandoned years ago. However, in reality, thanks to advancements in surgical technique, patient care management, anticoagulation and driver technology, the Total Artificial Heart has been implanted in more than 1,100 patients, is approved by the FDA, Health Canada and the CE (Europe) and has the highest bridge to transplant rate, 79%*, of any approved device.

*NEJM 2004; 351:859-67

How many employees do you have?

85

When were you founded?

2001

How much did you revenue increase (if any) this year over last year?

37% increase from 2011 to 2012

Want to know more about this recent funding? You can read more about it on this news release here.

About Christine Guinto

Christine Guinto is our part-time writer for the Lead411 Blog. She specializes in our funding news. You can contact her at christine [at] lead411.net. Christine Amos on Google+!