Babson Professor J. Boulnois, Case Director

Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship

© Babson College, 2001.


Two experienced entrepreneurial engineers successfully convert medical product concepts into highly technical instruments resulting in successful business ventures. Previous ventures have been sold to leading medical companies. Their new venture, Microline, which develops laparoscopic surgical instruments based on previously developed ophthalmic micro-scissors, appears to be well positioned to capture a large market share in a growing field. Despite their confidence in the marketability of their new products, sales are lagging. In response, the company decides to make a strategic transition from an OEM organization, tailored to their low volume disposable products, to direct manufacturing, marketing and sales by distributors. Key personnel are hired to implement the decision but financial troubles develop and the company faces bankruptcy or a sell-off, or recapitalization for a new strategy.

Location of the company: Beverly, Massachusetts

Years spanned by the case: 1987-1999

Industry segment: Medical instruments

Stage of the company: Early growth

Age of the entrepreneurs: Late-50's

Key Words: Entrepreneurship, R&D, Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS), laparoscopy, FDA, engineering


There is no DVD available for this case.

Teaching Notes

A 16-page power point case teaching package, written by Jean-Luc Boulnois, is available for this case. The teaching package includes strategies for case presentation, key concepts, solutions to the assignment questions in the case, and suggestions for the most effective ways to work this case into a course.