Technology Alone is Never Enough: What it Takes to Build a Medical Products Company

Wes Chapman, President and CEO, PCD Partners LLC

Friday, October 8, 2010, 3:30pm

This seminar is part of the Jones Seminars on Science, Technology, and Society series

In December of 1999, Medical Media Systems (MMS) had a proprietary technology which was patented and FDA cleared for 3D imaging and treatment planning for endovascular repair of aortic aneurysms. It had a major partner who paid for the technology development and could help with launching the product into the market. Over a dozen peer reviewed papers from top journals supported the technology as a "must have" product. The product, Preview, had no competition and was being used in clinical trials as a key aid in determining success or failure of aortic stent-grafts. But MMS had been in and out of bankruptcy once, had over $500,000 in unpaid bills, and only $17 in liquid resources. The company missed the Christmas payroll, and employees were walking out the door. Clearly, it takes more than technology to make a company work. The presentation takes a hard look at what went wrong, and what was done to make it right with investors, employees, regulators, clinical partners, and customers. By 2006, when the company was sold for 5.5X net invested capital, it enjoyed 80% annual sales growth, 40% operating margins, and 80% market share in its niche market.

About the Speaker

Mark 'Wes' Chapman was CEO of MMS and its successor, M2S, from 2000 through January 2010. Wes is an experienced investor and operator, with over a dozen companies he has helped form and run in the last 30 years. He started his first company at age 16, and paid his way through Dartmouth and Tuck School of Business with his second company formed at age 18. Wes spent twenty years in investment and merchant banking prior to taking over MMS. He recently started a medical quality systems company PCD Partners. He lives in Hanover, and has a passion for the outdoors, having climbed all 100 highest mountains in New England, Kilimanjaro, Whitney, Rainier and is headed to Russia to climb Elbrus next summer.