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BiVACOR® Taps Prominent Medical Device Leader and Former Cardiac Surgeon Thomas Vassiliades as New CEO

Dr. Vassiliades headshot, new CEO of BiVACOR

Tom Vassiliades, MD, MBA

BiVACOR logo

Highly accomplished, industry veteran brings over 30 years of experience

Dr. Vassiliades has the skillset and credibility to guide BiVACOR through its next chapter of transformation and advancement as we undertake the next stage of clinical activities.”
— Daniel Timms, Founder of BiVACOR
HOUSTON, TX, US, January 14, 2022 / -- BiVACOR®, a preclinical artificial heart device company, has named Thomas Vassiliades, MD, MBA, as Chief Executive Officer effective immediately. Founder and previous CEO, Daniel Timms, Ph.D., tapped Dr. Vassiliades to build upon the foundation of innovative technology established over recent years and accelerate the progression of product development leading to human clinical trials and commercialization of the company’s novel and proprietary total artificial heart.

“BiVACOR led an extensive CEO search, and Tom was the clear choice given his experience, background, leadership style, and exceptional track record,” said Daniel Timms, Ph.D., BiVACOR founder. “Tom has the skillset and credibility to guide BiVACOR through its next chapter of transformation and advancement as we undertake the next stage of clinical activities leading up to First in Human early feasibility studies.”

Continued Timms, “It is a testament to the great progress the team has made and to the importance of the unmet clinical need addressed by the Total artificial Heart technology. We look forward to Tom’s leadership as BiVACOR navigates the path to commercialization.”

With over 30 years of experience as a Cardiothoracic Surgeon and senior leader in the medical device industry, Dr. Vassiliades was most recently the General Manager of the Surgery and Heart Failure Business at Abiomed.

In prior leadership roles, Dr. Vassiliades served as the Chief Medical Officer of the Coronary and Structural Heart Business of Medtronic in 2010. He went on to become Chief Medical Officer and Integration Lead for Medtronic’s Mechanical Circulatory Support efforts in 2016. Prior to his industry career, Dr. Vassiliades practiced cardiac surgery for 18 years, most recently as Associate Professor of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine, where he invented the Endoscopic Atraumatic Coronary Artery Bypass (ENDOACAB) operation and co-authored more than 75 peer-reviewed publications. During this time, Dr. Vassiliades was also the founder of two medical startup companies. Dr. Vassiliades received his MD from the University of North Carolina, and his MBA was achieved with distinction at Emory University.

“I am excited and honored to join the BiVACOR team, working closely with Daniel and the entire team as we look forward to bringing this life-changing technology to the market,” said Dr. Vassiliades. “Throughout my career, I’ve been guided by the goal of bringing innovative cardiovascular therapies to the market to improve patient care and outcomes – providing solutions for those that don’t have one. BiVACOR is uniquely well-positioned to provide long-term therapy for patients with severe biventricular heart failure.”

Daniel Timms, Ph.D., Founder of BiVACOR, will remain heavily involved in the BiVACOR operations and maintain his role as Chief Technical Officer. His focus will be on the technical development of the Total Artificial Heart system, ensuring what reaches the patient is the best possible solution and advancing its use in expanded applications such as pediatric cases.

BiVACOR’s novel technology, the BiVACOR Total Artificial Heart (TAH), is designed as the first long-term therapy dedicated to patients with severe biventricular heart failure. The BiVACOR device is an implantable total artificial heart based on rotary blood pump technology. Similar in size to an adult fist, it is small enough to be implanted in many women and some children yet capable of providing enough cardiac output to an adult male undergoing exercise. The design, using magnetic levitation (MAGLEV) technology, the same principle used in high-speed trains, includes left and right vanes positioned on a common rotor to form the only moving part, a magnetically suspended double-sided centrifugal impeller. Even though there are no valves or flexing ventricle chambers, the pulsatile outflow is made possible by rapidly cycling the rotational speed of the impeller. The non-contact suspension provides large blood gaps minimizing blood trauma and eliminating mechanical wear to offer a durable, reliable, and biocompatible heart replacement.

The BiVACOR TAH builds on the successful transition of Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) technology from volume displacement to durable rotary blood pumps and aims to be the next generation TAH that sufficiently restores quality of life to patients suffering from severe biventricular heart failure. This therapy may be initially utilized as a short-term device in a patient awaiting a heart transplant or as a long-term alternative to heart transplantation.

To date, BiVACOR has raised more than $20 million in funding.


About BiVACOR®

BiVACOR® is a preclinical stage medical device company developing the BiVACOR Total Artificial Heart (TAH), the first long-term therapy for patients with severe heart failure. The TAH is designed to replace the complete function of the native heart and address the global unmet need of patients with end-stage heart failure (HF) by providing a life-extending solution.

Headquartered in Houston, TX, with an engineering office in Cerritos, CA, and an international office in Brisbane, Australia, BiVACOR was founded in 2008 by a team of internationally renowned biomedical engineers and cardiac surgeons. CEO/CTO Daniel Timms, Ph.D., leads the organization along with Chief Medical Officer William Cohn, MD, and is supported by a scientific advisory board led by Dr. O.H. Frazier, comprised of veteran surgeons, inventors, and researchers devoted to developing technologies to fix or replace the human heart.

Today, BiVACOR has a robust collaborative network that extends nationally and internationally and boasts a team of world-class engineers, medical specialists, and business executives fervent to advance this ground-breaking technology.

The company benefits today from 12 patents granted in 7 countries, and 13 additional patent applications.

Dana Summers
Penman PR for BiVACOR
+1 334-663-4424
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