About SynCardia

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Our Company Vision

To manage patients with advanced heart failure, every clinician will have the technology awareness and outcome data necessary to confidently consider the TAH as a therapeutic option.

At SynCardia Systems, LLC, we have a very special mission: to give end-stage heart failure patients the priceless gift of more time. More time with their families and friends, more time outside the hospital enjoying life and more time to receive a heart transplant.

Headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, SynCardia was founded in 2001 by renowned cardiothoracic surgeon Jack G. Copeland, MD; biomedical engineer Richard G. Smith, MSEE, CCE; and interventional cardiologist Marvin J. Slepian, MD. Today, SynCardia is the sole manufacturer and provider of the world’s only commercially approved total artificial heart. In clinical use for more than 35 years, the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH) is the most widely used and extensively studied total artificial heart in the world.

By partnering with, training and supporting healthcare teams at transplant hospitals and heart failure programs in more than 20 countries, SynCardia helps create better outcomes for critically ill adults and adolescents whose best chance of survival is total heart replacement. When a donor heart isn’t available or isn’t an option, SynCardia provides a new heart without the wait for patients at risk of dying or becoming too sick to transplant because of end-stage biventricular failure.

The SynCardia team is passionate about saving lives and dedicated to responsiveness, teamwork, safety, reliability and innovation. We believe that no one should die waiting for a matching donor heart. We also believe that a hospital isn’t a home; that for optimal patient quality of life, the ability to discharge stable patients home to enjoy a near-normal quality of life is vital. As a result, we are committed to advancing the treatment of end-stage biventricular failure to help improve patient care, quality of life and long-term outcomes.

In September 2021, SynCardia was acquired by Hunniwell Lake Ventures, LLC, a California-based Venture Capital investment firm. This has provided SynCardia with financial and operational resources to ensure that we can continue to grow and flourish in the U.S. and around the world. This support has also allowed us to continue developing innovative medical devices and pursuing new indications so we can help more patients.

In addition to our U.S. headquarters, SynCardia also operates a GmbH based in Freiburg im B., Germany, which allows us to provide robust clinical support and training to hospitals throughout Europe and beyond.

Meet the Management Team

Richard Fang

Chief Executive Officer, Picard Medical

Richard Fang, Ph.D. is a founder and managing partner of Hunniwell Lake Ventures - a new fund that was developed by utilizing his experiences to invest in the overlooked segments of the medical device space. Hunniwell Lake Ventures recently acquired SynCardia Systems, and is now part of the Hunniwell Lake Ventures family of companies. In addition to Hunniwell, Richard founded Reach Surgical, a minimally invasive surgical instruments company. Over a 15-year period, he drove the growth of Reach Medical into an industry-leading international brand with presence on six continents, and a revenue of nearly $100 million. During that time, he oversaw the development, manufacturing, marketing and sales of three product lines including dozens of product codes. His tenure with Reach Medical culminated in the recent sale of the company to private equity. Richard has over 20 years of professional hands-on experience in the medical device industry, including Johnson & Johnson in the US. He has an MBA from the University of Cincinnati, as well as a Ph.D. in Physics (Medical Imaging) from Purdue University in Indianapolis.

Daniel Teo

Member, Board of Managers

Daniel is a founding partner and managing director at Hunniwell Lake Ventures LLC, the a medical device venture capital investment firm investing in Surgical Innovations.  He is a career CFO/COO who has directly led 29 investments, totaling more than $500 million. He has orchestrated divestments of a similar scale and arranged hundreds of millions of dollars of debt financing for various companies in the US, Asia, South America, and the Middle-East. Additionally, he has consulted for a number of Silicon Valley venture funds that are focused on commercializing leading-edge US technologies in China.

Daniel has been involved in the medical device space since 2007,  most recently as the CFO of Reach Surgical.  While at Reach Surgical, he was also responsible for the international business and all its international joint ventures.  In addition to his many responsibilities at Hunniwell Lake Ventures and on the boards of various portfolio companies, he currently oversees the Commercial, Financial and other back-office functions operations of SynCardia in the US and abroad.

Daniel received his Bachelor’s and Master's degree in Natural Sciences with an emphasis on medical physics from Cambridge University, a Master’s degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, as well as finance and accounting qualifications from the ACCA in London. While at Cambridge and at Stanford, he was respectively, a Cambridge Commonwealth Fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow.

Daniel is extremely passionate about helping as many heart failure patients as possible to live longer lives, and believes that advancing the artificial heart technology at SynCardia is the best way to accomplish this mission.

Frank Tinker

Chief Technology Officer

Dr. Tinker’s extensive academic background includes a Summa Cum Laude B.S Degree in Engineering, as well as a Master’s and PHD in Physics that was earned while he was a Department of Education Fellow. He is credited with defining the only known mathematical model capable of reproducing the empirically determined efficiency of all known heat engines. He has also identified and reported three critical flaws in the field of climate science currently being studied internationally to determine their impact on affected scientific work and public policy. Dr. Tinker has been granted patents on six technologies, such as mechanisms used to drive an artificial heart, analog computing topologies, internal combustion engine enhancements, and a dispensing apparatus for use in battlefield triage. When Dr. Tinker isn’t busy advancing our life saving artificial heart technology, he can be found practicing his card skills for another turn at the World Series of Poker table, and he is currently attempting to build a house by hand using native rock found in Arizona. Dr. Tinker’s favorite quote is, “Physics is anything a physicist chooses to do.”

Blago Herrera, Plant Manager

Blago Herrera

Plant Manager

Blago has extensive experience in the medical device industry, and was brought on as Vice President of Operations at SynCardia in June of 2018. He is a compliance-driven professional with over 30 years of progressive experience and a proven record of success. He previously served as Sr. Operations Director at OptiScan Biomedical, where he led Operations, Quality Control, and the Research & Development Test Lab. Additionally, he has also worked with companies such as Abiomed, Cordis, and CR Bard, to name just a few. During his tenure at OptiScan Biomedical, he developed and implemented a Quality System with all applicable procedures, leading to the approval of a first-of-its-kind point-of-care bedside monitor exclusively used in the ICU. He currently oversees the day to day operations at the SynCardia headquarters and production facilities in Tucson. Blago is laser focused in making sure that we are always producing the highest quality, and safest medical devices for our patients around the world. When not working, Blago is usually found hiking through the various terrains in Tucson, practicing his indoor competitive marksman skills, or traveling to spend time with his extended family in Georgia.

Elizabeth Oei | RN, BS, MSN, FNP-BC

Director North American Distribution and Clinical Education

Elizabeth brings over 20 years of both Clinical and Commercial experience in Mechanical Circulatory Support to her role at SynCardia. In addition to previously spending 9 years in a clinical position with SynCardia, she has worked with companies such as Agilent, Arrow, Tandem Heart, and Abiomed. She recently took some time off from her career in the medical device industry, to obtain her Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner Degree and Certification. Elizabeth then returned to SynCardia in 2021, as the Director of North American Distribution and Clinical Education. Elizabeth oversees our distribution partners in the US, as well as coordinating clinical education for all of our implant centers. In order to provide the best clinical education to our patients and health care providers, Elizabeth is also still actively working as an Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner in a Connecticut medical facility.  When she isn’t working with our clinical sites across the US, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her four legged best friend Siggi (her recently rescued Weimaraner), and spending time with her nieces and family in the mountains of North Carolina