Case Study

Ion Beam Applications (IBA): Protect, enhance and save lives

24 pages
August 2012
Reference: IMD-3-2300

Belgium, December 2011. Life had been anything but tranquil at IBA since its creation in 1986. From research lab with a focus on particle physics to premier producer of a new generation of cyclotrons for industrial use, it had also applied its unique skills to fields as diverse as sterilization, dosimetry, the production of radioisotopes for medical applications and finally offered turnkey solutions for Proton Therapy (PT). In the process, it had pretty much tested every concept in the financial dictionary, including a management buyout, an IPO and subsequent secondary offerings, various categories of public and private investors, carve-outs and spin-outs, not to mention market consolidations and build-ups. What emerged in 2011 was a world leader in cancer treatment, in particular in the leading edge proton therapies, with over 2,100 employees and almost €200 million in sales in the first half of 2011, EBIDA of €13.6 million, and €5 million in profit before taxes. As per the 2011 letter from management, it achieved this feat by “… daring to create innovative and superior science to detect and treat cancer.” But challenges remained. First of all, the PT business, while profitable, required constant investments to remain on top. Pencil Beam Scanning (PBS) was introduced commercially in 2009 but other expensive developments would be required soon. The pharma business, which focused on molecular imaging, also faced massive investments for phase III trials of new molecules. Analysts were clearly struggling with the immensely different nature and cycles of these two lines of business, which muddled IBA’s financial results and ultimately affected the share price. Finally, succession challenges were looming in top management, with the chief research officer (CRO) approaching retirement age and CEO Pierre Mottet having spent the last 24 years in the company.

Learning Objective

Managing high tech developments, life science applications, positioning a technology, segmenting, growth management, IPO, buyout, carve-out, nuclear physics, proton therapies, cancer treatment.

High Technology, Particle Accelerator, Oncology, Technology Management, Physics, Life Science, Radio-elements, Dosimetry
World/global, Belgium
Ion Beam Applications, Healthcare, Healthcare, Medical Equipment
December 2011
Field Research
© 2012
Available Languages
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