Abiomed Announces Strategic Investment in WorldHeart Corporation



    DANVERS, MASS., December 12 /CNW/ - Abiomed, Inc. (NASDAQ:   ABMD), a
leading provider of medical devices that provide circulatory support to acute
heart failure patients today announced a strategic investment in WorldHeart
Corporation (NASDAQ:   WHRT, TSX: WHT), a developer of implantable mechanical
circulatory support systems for chronic heart failure patients. Under the
terms of the transaction, Abiomed has agreed to loan $5 million in convertible
secured debt to WorldHeart, with a term of two years and bearing interest at
8% per annum. The loan is convertible, at Abiomed's option, into common shares
of WorldHeart at a conversion price of approximately $1.75 per share,
resulting in an approximately 19.9% ownership interest in WorldHeart upon
conversion. The loan is secured by all of the assets of WorldHeart, including
its intellectual property. Abiomed ended its most recent fiscal quarter with
$59.5 million in cash and no debt.

    "We are excited about the opportunity to work with WorldHeart. They are
well respected in the field of circulatory support and have an extensive
network of loyal heart surgeons," commented Michael R. Minogue, Chairman,
President and Chief Executive Officer of Abiomed. "Based on the analysis of
our top scientists, and our due diligence with leading customers, we believe
that the Levacor(TM) mag-lev rotary pump represents the best solution for
long-term support applications, including bridge to transplant and destination
therapy. Abiomed remains committed and focused on heart recovery for acute
patients, especially with Impella in the cath lab. However, we also recognize
the unmet clinical need for patients suffering from chronic heart failure that
can benefit from a long-term implantable LVAD."

    Additionally, the two companies have entered into a two-year marketing
and clinical support services agreement through which they will seek
opportunities to leverage existing expertise and resources at Abiomed and
potentially provide cost savings for WorldHeart. In consideration for these
support services, Abiomed will be issued a warrant for the purchase of up to
3,400,000 common shares of WorldHeart. Abiomed has also been granted a right
of first refusal to distribute WorldHeart's products, other than the Novacor
LVAS product that is currently being sold by WorldHeart. Abiomed has the
largest sales and clinical team in the ventricular assist device field,
calling on the catheterization labs, intensive care units and heart surgery
suites. In addition, Abiomed has been granted the right to designate one
nominee or observer to the WorldHeart board of directors.

    WorldHeart is currently developing the Levacor Rotary Ventricular Assist
Device (VAD), which is designed to provide support for chronic heart failure
patients. The Levacor is a bearingless, fully magnetically levitated
implantable centrifugal rotary pump that suspends the spinning rotor,
minimizing wear within the pump and allowing greater clearances around the
rotor with more uniform flow patterns. The Levacor has not been approved by
the FDA for sale in the United States.

    "We believe that the Levacor magnetically levitated implantable rotary
pump will provide features and performance that will leapfrog all existing
rotary pumps. Its design inherently has a low risk for stroke complications,
even at low flows," stated Dr. Bob Kung, Chief Scientist of Abiomed.

    Abiomed and WorldHeart intend to explore technical synergies between the
two companies, such as the potential to use Abiomed's information and
transcutaneous energy transfer (iTET) system with WorldHeart's Levacor
product. Abiomed's patented iTET system consists of internal and external
coils that are used to transmit power and information across the skin. Because
tubes or wires do not pierce the skin, like other implantable LVADs, the
chances of developing an infection are significantly decreased and patients
have the freedom to shower and bathe without the need for protective dressing.
Abiomed has 9 patents and greater than $40 million invested in the iTET
platform. Abiomed has patient experience with the iTET from its AbioCor
artificial heart study with home and hospital remote diagnostics, and
long-term engineering reliability data.

    "We are excited about the opportunities presented by this strategic
alliance," said Jal S. Jassawalla, President and Chief Executive Officer of
WorldHeart. "This alliance creates a winning strategy by bringing together
complementary technologies and broad device portfolios. Abiomed's intellectual
property portfolio includes numerous patents in the implantable pump field,
and we are honored they have chosen the Levacor as the long-term implantable
device of choice."

    Under the terms of the agreement, Abiomed has advanced $1,000,000 of the
loan in December 2007, with the additional $4,000,000 expected to be advanced
in January 2008. If Abiomed chooses to convert the loan and exercise the
warrant for 3,400,000 shares, at $.01 per share, subject to adjustments for
certain dilutive issuances, this would total approximately 6.26 million common
shares of WorldHeart. Based on this conversion and approximately 11.51 million
shares of WorldHeart currently outstanding, Abiomed would have approximately
35% ownership interest in WorldHeart. Abiomed's ability to exercise the
warrant and convert the loan is currently limited to a maximum of
approximately 2.29 million shares under the applicable rules of the NASDAQ
Stock Market until the transaction has been approved by WorldHeart's
shareholders. Abiomed does not currently intend to acquire ownership or
control of additional securities of WorldHeart, other than as described above.

    CONFERENCE CALL AND WEBCAST INFORMATION

    WorldHeart will host a conference call to discuss the investment on
Wednesday, December 12, 2007, at 10:00 a.m. ET. Jal S. Jassawalla, President
and Chief Executive Officer of WorldHeart Corporation, will host the
conference call and Michael R. Minogue, Chairman, President and Chief
Executive Officer of Abiomed, Inc. will participate.

    The conference call may be accessed by dialing 866-356-4441 (if dialing
from within the U.S.) or 617-597-5396 (if dialing from outside the U.S.). The
passcode is 37457013. A replay of the conference call will be available 2
hours after the completion of the conference call for a period of 7 days by
dialing 888-286-8010 (if dialing from within the U.S.) or 617-801-6888 (if
dialing outside the U.S.). The replay conference ID access code is 23506939.

    ABOUT ABIOMED

    Abiomed, Inc. is a leading provider of medical devices that provide
circulatory support to acute heart failure patients across the continuum of
care in heart recovery. Abiomed's products are designed to enable the heart to
rest, heal and recover by improving blood flow and/or performing the pumping
of the heart. Abiomed's headquarters are located at 22 Cherry Hill Drive,
Danvers, Massachusetts, 01923. For additional information, please visit
www.abiomed.com.

    ABOUT WORLDHEART

    WorldHeart is a developer of long-term mechanical circulatory support
systems with broad-based next-generation technologies. WorldHeart is
headquartered in Oakland, California, USA with additional facilities in Salt
Lake City, Utah and Herkenbosch, Netherlands. WorldHeart's registered office
is Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

    FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

    This Release contains forward-looking statements, including statements
regarding development of Abiomed's existing and new products, the Company's
progress toward commercial growth, and future opportunities. The Company's
actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in these
forward-looking statements based upon a number of factors, including the
results of the Company's pivotal study, uncertainties associated with
development, testing and related regulatory approvals, anticipated future
losses, complex manufacturing, high quality requirements, dependence on
limited sources of supply, competition, technological change, government
regulation, future capital needs and uncertainty of additional financing, and
other risks and challenges detailed in the Company's filings with the
Securities and Exchange Commission, including the risk factors contained in
the Company's Annual Report filed on Form 10-K and its recently filed
quarterly report on Form 10-Q. Readers are cautioned not to place undue
reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of
this Release. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly release the
results of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made
to reflect events or circumstances that occur after the date of this Release
or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.




For further information:

For further information: Abiomed, Inc. Daniel J. Sutherby, 978-777-5410
Chief Financial Officer ir@abiomed.com or For Abiomed, Inc. Brodeur Heather
Nevers, 617-587-2814 Media Relations hnevers@brodeur.com

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ABIOMED, INC.

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