Originally Published MDDI August 2004
John Masefield is one of the most influential figures in the field of radiation sterilization. In 1972, Masefield founded Isomedix, one of the world's largest providers of contract irradiation services. He held the positions of chairman, president, and CEO of Isomedix for 25 years, until after its merger with STERIS Corp. in 1997. He currently serves as executive advisor to STERIS Corp. “I think Isomedix is a star performer in the industry,” Masefield says. “The technology was so vital in microbial reduction and sterilization. It becomes increasingly critical as the years go by.”
Masefield has championed radiation-sterilization technology since the early days of his career. “I recognized in the early 1960s that this should be the preferred method for the sterilization of single-use medical products,” he says. It was apparent to him at that time that radiation was the superior technology—but expensive in terms of capital cost. “You need large-volume throughput to make it cost-effective,” he explains. “So I thought that if I founded a company that operated a network of centers, the net worth of the process could compete with EtO. I scraped a few friends and a little money together and we started Isomedix.”
In addition, Masefield served on the board of directors of AAMI and spent more than 20 years as cochairman of the international standards committee that developed the worldwide standards for the radiation sterilization of medical products. He also served as cochairman of ISO TC 198 during the period when the North American AAMI standards for the radiation sterilization of medical devices were adopted as ISO 11137.
Masefield has also been active in international irradiation groups. He has served as the chairman of the advisory board of the Association of International Industrial Irradiators. He is the current chairman of the International Irradiation Association and a member of the Gamma Industry Processing Alliance.
In November 2003, Johnson & Johnson awarded him the Kilmer Memorial Award for International Leadership in Advancing the Science and Practice of Radiation Sterilization. Also in 2003, Masefield received a special award at the International Meeting on Radiation Processing for his pioneering work in advancing the industrial uses of ionizing irradiation.
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