Geron taps Noonan Russo to increase mindshare

SAN DIEGO: Geron Corp., a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of diagnostics and therapies based on human embryonic stem cell research, has selected Noonan Russo as its AOR, to build its status in stem cell therapeutics, according to the firm.

SAN DIEGO: Geron Corp., a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of diagnostics and therapies based on human embryonic stem cell research, has selected Noonan Russo as its AOR, to build its status in stem cell therapeutics, according to the firm.

PR efforts are expected to include investor and media relations, marketing communications, and conference planning and support, said David Schull, the San Diego-based SVP and managing director of Noonan Russo's California operations.

Although Menlo Park, CA-based Geron has played a significant role in the field of embryonic stem cell research since the late '90s, the company's projects have "moved from pre-clinical to clinical stages," Schull said. "Its messaging and approach have to catch up."

Geron's "number-one audience" investment-committee members and medical professionals, according to Schull "may not fully understand" the company's current position. To attract "the next level of investor," he said, "We need to simplify, clarify, and distinguish Geron from other" companies involved in regenerative medical research.

Another challenge for Noonan Russo will be addressing the inadvertently negative repercussions of California's successfully passed Proposition 71, the Stem Cell Research and Cures Act.

Passed in November 2004, Prop 71 authorized the state to sell $3 billion in bonds to provide funding for stem cell research and facilities and establish regulatory standards. For almost three years, however, the initiative has been ensnared in lawsuits; initial funding has dwindled, and advances have been made at a slower-than-anticipated pace.

Noonan Russo, a division of Havas-owned Euro RSCG Life PR, won the Geron account following what Schull called "a semi-formal agency review." The firm has already embarked on early-stage messaging and positioning work, he said, including internal and investor surveys and basic campaign analysis.

Geron representatives were not available for comment.

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