A Medical Device Daily

WorldHeart (Oakland, California) reported that it is embarking on a phased consolidation into a primary facility at its facility in Salt Lake City. The company said its focus is on the development, clinical trial and subsequent commercialization of the advanced rotary Levacor Ventricular Assist Device (VAD).

In this context, and as the first-generation Novacor LVAS reaches the natural end of its product life cycle, the company said it is eliminating five positions, including Vice President of Manufacturing John Vajda, at its facility in Oakland effective immediately.

The company said that it expects Vajda will provide consulting services for transitional priorities.

A second consolidation phase will be completed over the next three to four quarters as about 10 additional Oakland positions are expected to be eliminated, while others are relocated to Salt Lake.

The consolidation plan also includes a search for a CEO to reside in Salt Lake City. Jal Jassawalla, WorldHeart's current president/CEO, will remain in a senior management position based in California, along with certain key employees in areas such as research and development, clinical affairs and regulatory affairs.

Jassawalla will continue to focus on these WorldHeart activities, with emphasis on clinical collaborations, advancement of VAD technology and global adoption of assist device therapy.

Earlier this month, the company said it completed a $30 million private placement and recapitalization agreement that could help it advance late-stage testing of its Novacor LVAS heart pump this year (Medical Device Daily, Aug. 4, 2008).