• CorNova (Burlington, Massachusetts) named Robert Gallahue CFO and Richard Sahagian senior scientist. Gallahue has more than 20 years of financial management experience with public and private biotechnology and medical technology companies at various stages of clinical and commercial development. Sahagian founded the medical device division at Implant Sciences. CorNova makes endovascular products.

Holly Andersen, MD, has been appointed director of education and outreach at the new Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The new position underscores the institute's commitment to raising awareness about the risks of heart disease. Considered to be a leading authority on preventive cardiology, Andersen will oversee patient education, community outreach and prevention efforts with the goal of reducing cardiovascular risk, especially among women. New York-Presbyterian Hospital announced in February 2008 the creation of the heart institute, made possible through a $50 million gift from Ronald Perelman that also created the Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine. The Perelman Heart Institute is scheduled to open this fall.

• NMT Medical (Boston) said it has appointed Frank Martin, a board member, as interim president/CEO. Until a permanent successor is appointed, Martin will assume the responsibilities formerly held by John Ahern. Ahern reported his retirement and has also resigned from his position as a director of the company. NMT's board said it has begun the search for a permanent CEO and has retained an executive recruiting firm. NMT also reported that Richard Davis, its current executive VP/CFO, was promoted to the newly created position of COO. Davis will retain the CFO role. NMT develops implant technologies that allow interventional cardiologists to treat structural heart disease through minimally invasive, catheter-based procedures.

Peer Portner, PhD, pioneer of the first implanted electric heart assist pump for patients with terminal heart failure, died of cancer in mid-February. He was 68. Internationally known for his life-long work in developing mechanical heart-assist devices, Portner, consulting professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine (Stanford, California), developed the left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, which made history in 1984 when it kept a gravely ill heart patient alive mechanically for eight days until a heart was available for transplantation. Never before had such a device been successfully implanted in a human being. Owned today by World Heart, the LVAD has been used in more than 1,800 patients with life-threatening heart failure. The current wearable configuration, introduced in 1993, has allowed patients to leave the hospital and return to an essentially normal lifestyle. Implant durations continue to increase, the longest reaching six years. "He was a mentor to many people around the world, from world-class surgeons to medical students," said Robert Robbins, MD, chairman of the department of cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford. "He had incredible insight into these cardiac-assist devices, their designs, their reliability and which patients were appropriate for the devices. He had amazing overall knowledge of their use."

John Alexander (Alex) Martin has been named president/CEO of World Heart (Salt Lake City), a developer of cardiac assist technologies. Martin, who also replaced Jal Jassawalla on the company's board of directors, joins WorldHeart from Edwards Lifesciences, where he has been president of the North American Region and corporate VP since 2004.

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