Medical device startup , which has raised $85 million in venture capital, has laid off one third of its workforce and cut its chief executive officer’s position, The Triangle Business Journal reported Friday.

Dan Pelak, the CEO who remains a board member, after the company’s lead product ran into problems during trials in animals.

The problem means InnerPulse won’t be able to commercialize its implantable defibrillator as soon as planned, Pelak said. The board therefore cut the company back to 32 employees from 50 in order to concentrate on research and development, he added.

InnerPule had planned to begin selling the device in Europe this year and in the United States by 2010.

The setback for InnerPulse came just weeks after the company was cited as by the Council for Entrepreneurial Development as having executed the “Private Deal of the Year” in June for its $50 million funding round announced in January of 2007.

InnerPulse, which was launched in 2003 and is privately held, secured funding from a syndicate of well-known companies. It had raised more than $35 million in two earlier rounds of fund raising.

"We are very pleased with the quality of our investors and the level of financing we have achieved. InnerPulse has made significant progress to date and now has the resources to execute on our business plan with a focus towards the commercialization of our first generation product,”Pelak said at the time. “This funding will allow our company the ability to commercialize a technology that will save the lives of many individuals with heart disease."

Investors include Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, Medtronic, Inc., Synergy Life Science Partners, Ascent Biomedical Ventures, Delphi Ventures and Frazier Heathcare Ventures.

The funds were being used to complete commercial development of the defibrillator technology as well as infrastructure requirements.

The device is known as the Percutaneous Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator, or PICD.

The company changed its name in 2006 from Interventional Rhythm Management.

Other InnerPulse investors include Boston Scientific and Greatbatch, Inc.