Starting and Building a Medical Device Company

Entrepreneurial Roundtable

May 16, 2011: 6:30 PM - 8:45 PM

In 1998, John Swanson, ’98, cofounded Source Tech Medical (STM) to manufacture and market low-cost radioactive implants to treat prostate cancer. Five years later, STM was sold to a leading medical supply company for $39 million. Join us to hear John talk about how he and his team raised $12 million through five rounds of funding and overcame numerous challenges in manufacturing, sales and marketing to take STM from a pure start-up to an established business.


Northern Illinois University - Naperville Campus
First Floor Atrium & Auditorium
1120 East Diehl Road
Naperville, Illinois

Driving Directions:Exit Route I-88 at Naperville Road exit. At traffic light (Freedom Drive), turn south - left if you are coming from the east. Go to a "T" (Diehl Road) and turn right onto Diehl Road. Go 2-3 blocks - NIU-Naperville will be on the left across from the Hampton Inn. Turn left onto drive on west wide of NIU facility. Park behind facility and enter the middle door.

Event Details

In the 1990's, prostate cancer was the leading form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men. To the co-founders of STM, this seemed to be a great business opportunity. They devised a business plan to develop a method for manufacturing low-cost radioactive implants to treat localized prostate cancer. At that time, radioactive implants had become a accepted form of treatment by physicians and was often requested by patients an alternative treatment to radical prostatectomy and external beam radiation for localized prostate cancer. The business plan envisioned a total investment of $10 million.

STM faced a number of challenges in getting the initial funding, during a time when most VC money was going to .com companies. STM also found that the automated manufacturing equipment necessary for STM to be the low-cost producer in the market could not be required more money and time to set up than planned. STM, however, was able to enter into an Sales & Marketing Agreement with CR Bard’s Urology Division which offered funding and sales throughout North America. CR Bard’s interest in marketing the device globally led to the sale of STM to CR Bard in 2003 for $39 million. The business remains a going concern with its plant in Carol Stream, Illinois.

Before founding STM, John Swanson was a Business Systems Manager at Amersham Corporation, responsible for the management of strategic initiatives across all three of the company’s business divisions in North America including brand teams, 120+ field sales and 30+ nuclear pharmacy operations. During John’s tenure at Amersham, the company grew from $250M to over $2.0B in revenue. Since selling STM in 2003m John has worked in management consulting for Accenture’s Health & Life Science practice and, most recently, was VP, Global Business Development for Hollister Incorporated, a global medical device company located in Libertyville, IL.


Price: $25 for general public; $20 for Chicago Booth alumni/faculty/students. Register by May 11th to receive an additional $5 discount


Register Online
Register by May 11th to receive $5 discount

Deadline: 5/16/2011


6:30 PM-7:15 PM: Networking & Light Refreshments

7:15 PM-8:45 PM: Program with Speaker


Bill Wentz, '88 
Roundtable Chair