Entrepreneur Of The Year 2009
Road to Palm Springs
Euan S. Thomson, PhD
After losing three close relatives to cancer, UK-born Evan Thomson devoted the first 15 years of his career to cancer treatment and research at hospitals and universities in Britain. From there, he moved on to the corporate world to gain greater access to resources and work on innovative techniques.
In 2002, Thomson took the risk of moving to California to accept the position of president and CEO of Accuray Incorporated, a company that had already had eight years of strong technical development but little commercial success. Its flagship product was the CykerKnife, a robotic radiosurgery device that non-invasively destroys cancerous tumors with high doses of ionizing radiation.
Initially, radiosurgery was used only for brain tumors, but Thomson worked to realize the company’s vision of expanding its use to tumors anywhere in the body. He developed the company’s financial and business strategy and guided its research and development and marketing activities, making significant investments in clinical studies that led to acceptance of the CyberKnife in Europe and expansion to Asia.
Thomson delivered positive cash flows for the first time within one year of becoming CEO. The company went public in 2007 and generated more than $210 million in revenue for its most recent fiscal year. To date, the CyberKnife System has been used to treat more than 60,000 patients worldwide and is in operation in more than 17 countries.