Rodger G. Ford is the former Chairman and Co-Founder of ReliantHeart, Inc. He played a key role in ReliantHeart’s acquisition of the assets of MicroMed in October 2013. Mr. Ford is a serial entrepreneur and very successful in building profitable businesses. Prior to ReliantHeart and MicroMed, he served as the CEO of SynCardia. During his tenure as CEO of SynCardia, Mr. Ford guided and directed the development of two new driver systems for powering the Total Artificial Heart. He helped raise the capital that funded the development and launch of the Freedom portable driver, the world’s first wearable power supply for the Total Artificial Heart. Under his leadership, SynCardia installed modern and effective business systems, such as MasterControl, quality management system software that was also later selected by the FDA. In addition, he recruited an experienced management team that transformed SynCardia from a “science project” into a celebrated bioscience company.
ReliantHeart manufactures the implantable aVAD™ powerful miniature electric LVAD, which increases the cardiac output of a patient suffering from heart failure sufficiently to permit the patient to live. The aVAD™ is the newest generation product originally developed by heart surgeons Dr. Michael DeBakey and Dr. George Noon, beginning in 1988 in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In 1998, the DeBakey VAD became the first axial flow VAD to be used in humans. Since then, it has been implanted more than 500 times, making it the third most implanted VAD device and saving the lives of hundreds of men, women, and children.
End-stage heart failure is the final common pathway of multiple forms of heart disease, all of which may ultimately weaken the heart’s pumping ability. Heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death, with an estimated 20 million people worldwide suffering from heart failure. In the United States alone, approximately 5 million patients are in late-stage heart failure. About 1 million more are diagnosed every year, and 330,000 die annually, still awaiting a solution. The number of Americans suffering from heart disease is projected to grow to 35 million by the year 2025.