Robert Cohen Out as Miromatrix CEO
Miromatrix Inc., an Eden Prairie-based biotech company developing transplantable organs for human use, announced a leadership shuffle on Wednesday.
Among the change-ups was Jeff Ross, who was formerly the company’s executive vice president of product development, and is now acting as interim CEO.
In an interview, Ross told TCB that Miromatrix’s ex-CEO, Robert Cohen, who joined the company in 2009 and led commercialization efforts of its first products, left on February 23.
“I can say that that was a board decision and it was looking at which direction to go in the future,” Ross said. “Rob did a great job bringing the company to the state that it’s at and I think [the board was] looking at ‘where do we go next?’ And I think the board decided to make a change in that direction.”
Ross took over as interim CEO on the same day Cohen departed.
TCB’s November 2016 feature “Saving Your Bacon,” looked at Miromatrix’s founding, its “revolutionary” organ processing technology and how it’s had little difficulty finding financial backing from local and national health care leaders.
Joining Miromatrix’s board on Wednesday were three veterans from the medical device industry.
John Erb, the current CEO of Eden Prairie-based Sunshine Heart, holds the longest medical device industry tenure of the three, with over 40 years experience. He was also a board member at Maple Grove-based heart device manufacturer Vascular Solutions until Teleflex acquired it this year.
Paul Buckman also joined the board. In his 35-plus years in the medical device industry, Buckman has served as CEO at various companies, including ev3, which was purchased by Covidien, an Irish medtech giant that was later acquired by Medtronic.
Mark Wagner, whose local connections include board seats at Minneapolis-based Zipnosis and Falcon Heights-based Minnetronix Inc., was the final addition.
“Mr. Buckman, Mr. Erb and Mr. Wagner, individually would be a powerful addition for Miromatrix and collectively, this is a major achievement,” Ross said. “I am personally looking forward to working closely with the new board members as we continue to execute on our commercialization plans and development of transplantable organs.”
On top of the board add-ons, there were two departures: Minnesota’s 39th governor, Tim Pawlenty, and Walter Sembrowich, a former director at St. Jude Medical.
“We also want to thank Dr. Sembrowich and Mr. Pawlenty who have seen us grow from a few employees with just a vision,” Ross said,” to where we are today leading the world in bioengineering a whole liver and having two commercial products.”