CEO Eric Meier Out at Calypso Medical; Layoffs Reported

At least three people were laid off from Seattle-based Calypso Medical Technologies on Wednesday, and former CEO Eric Meier has left the firm, according to a source close to the company.

Director of marketing David Gusdorf declined to comment on the layoffs. A request for comment from Eric Meier was not immediately answered. Vice president and chief marketing officer Lorraine Marshall Wright did not comment on the layoffs, but did say that Meier left Calypso “prior to this week.”

“After ten years building Calypso Medical into an industry leader in radiation therapy motion management, Mr. Meier had decided it was time for a new challenge and time for new leadership to take the company to its next stage of evolution and growth,” she told Xconomy via e-mail.

Wright also verified that the board of directors has appointed Ed Vertatschitsch as interim CEO (he has replaced Meier on the website), while the search for a candidate that will “complement the company’s culture” is underway. Vertatschitsch joined Calypso in 2003, and was formerly the hardware development manager at Palm, and prior to that, chief scientist at Boeing. He holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from McMaster University.

According to our source, Meier was let go about a month ago with plans to stay on as chief executive until a replacement could be found, but left the company shortly after.

Ed Vertatschitsch

Ed Vertatschitsch

Eric Meier

Eric Meier

Calypso, a developer of technology that pinpoints radiation therapy for cancer in order to minimize side effects, has garnered a lot of attention over the last few years. In September, Calypso raised $50 million in a round led by Skyline Ventures and Seattle-based Frazier Healthcare Ventures, the firm that founded the company in 1999. The financing, which was the largest Northwest venture capital deal last year, came after the company cut a fifth of its employees—36 people—in December 2008, a move the company said was made to conserve cash flow during the economic downturn. Calypso had 136 employees as of last September.

Since Calypso’s hefty financing announcement in September, the company has inked a strategic development agreement with Siemens Healthcare to jointly develop radiation therapy products to treat pancreatic, lung, and prostate cancers. In February the company completed a clinical trial with 64 patients who used Calypso’s system to track their prostate tumors during radiation sessions in real time. Researchers said in the journal Urology that these patients had fewer bowel-related side effects, including diarrhea, as well as less urinary irritation and erectile dysfunction.

We’ll update this story if and when we hear more from Meier or Calypso.

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