Patrick Pennie is Founder, President & CEO of EmCyte Corporation. After more than 20 years of innovation and development, EmCyte Corporation is widely recognized as the standard bearer of Autologous Platelet Rich Plasma and Progenitor Stem Cell Biologics, with a product portfolio that meets the highest achievable performance outcomes in point of care regenerative medicine.
Mr. Pennie’s Story:
My story starts in 1987 as an open heart critical care registered nurse in New York City where I dedicated myself to caring for military veterans who suffered with heart disease and other associated complications. I performed this work at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, NYC. In addition to this work I have also worked as a field nurse for an agency that deployed investigational medicines for HIV patients. This agency worked in collaboration with research scientists in the development of a treatment for HIV.
After years of clinical service I went on to further my education and clinical experience and was accepted to the inaugural program for extracorporeal cardiopulmonary sciences and perioperative blood management and Barry University in Miami Florida. There I became a certified clinical open heart perfusionist in 1993. This field required a strong clinical and physiological understanding of blood and blood components. I attained my first job as an open heart perfusionist at Lee Memorial Health Park in Fort Myers, Florida shortly after graduating, and it is through this experience I was able to conceive the idea of using a concentrated form of platelet growth factors derived from the patient’s own body to heal diabetic and other types of chronic non-healing wounds.
This extraordinary idea came to me in 1999 after randomly reading about the use of small doses of recombinant growth factors to treat wounds. The recombinant version was expensive and largely abandoned for inefficacy. However, I thought the treatment would be viable if a powerful dose of the growth factors came from the patients own body instead of from a lab. From this concept, I developed one of the first autologous regenerative medical treatments for chronic non healing wounds. This is referred to as activated autologous platelet rich plasma therapies.
The treatment was largely successful. However, it required large machines (autotransfusion machines) to process large amounts of donated blood (350-500mL) from the patient in order to prepare the PRP treatment sample. It had to be done in an inpatient setting because the patient had to be monitored during and after the blood donation and the machines were not portable. After seeing the success of the therapy, I knew physicians would more widely use this therapy if it were a point of care treatment that could be done in a same-day outpatient setting. So in 2000, I developed one of the first tabletop platelet rich plasma processing systems where a physician could effectively treat the patient with a powerful PRP treatment sample from only 60mL of donated blood. This system was called the Secquire Cell Separator and was cleared by the FDA under 510(k) K024080 in 2003.
From there I went on to develop the technology used to prepare point of care platelet rich plasma and have introduced the concept of PURE platelet rich plasma in 2012. This was a new form of PRP that was devoid of harmful contaminants that was until then, a typical part of the PRP formulation. This included inflammatory, glycemic and hemolytic substances. Our PURE PRP devices had technology that was able to remove these substances while maintaining a powerful active ingredient which are the platelet and cytokine content. Today we lead the market with the most effective and powerful form of PRP for clinical application. The system is called the PurePRP SupraPhysiologic Concentrating System.
I have also developed systems for concentrating progenitor stem cells from bone marrow and adipose tissue, along with minimally invasive devices used to collect a purer sample of parenchymal bone marrow.
Describe the most significant influence that led you to your line of work: I have come across this field organically. It was not planned or even imagined early in my career. However, I was inspired by the epiphany of 1999 where my life had changed after reading that one article about recombinant PDGF. This sparked something inside of me as I already felt like I was positioned to take this concept in a completely new direction.
What do your family, friends and colleagues say about your accomplishments?: Most are astounded by my perseverance throughout the years. I have stuck with something that I felt passionate about and was determined to see this to fruition as I knew it was a therapy that could impact the lives of millions of people. It was simple yet very effective, had little down time for active patients and was curative rather than palliative. Most are proud to know or be affiliated with me in some way as they have witnessed the journey..
Tell us about something that made you grow the most as a leader: Humility and compassion are the most important qualities manifested as a leader. The work is still a service to humanity, and if I continue show these qualities I would stay grounded as an advocate for patients. This garners the respect that allow me to be relatable to so many.
Share your ideas for mentoring the professional development of young entrepreneurs. I think that young entrepreneurs should be bold and embrace their god given gifts. They should understand society and how they can use their talents to enhance the lives of people in their communities and throughout the world. They should think on how to integrate and utilize their talents so it will have sustainability and be financially rewarding. Once they have made these determinations then they should jump in. Their passion would carry them through the challenges they will face.
To date, what project is your greatest success? What is the story behind that innovation? The greatest success is the PURE SupraPhysiologic Concentrating Systems I have developed for preparing platelet rich plasma and bone marrow concentrating treatment samples. The formulation is very effective for a host of treatment applications. The preparation is very well tolerated by patients and exceeds the clinical threshold for efficacy. I am proud of these systems and am happy to have been able to make the millions in investment for R&D towards its development. I am rewarded everyday that I get a story about how our devices have changed lives.