With his philosophy that “a leader can’t get too excited on the ups or too depressed on the downs,” Gerald Proehl has ridden highs and lows while leading Santarus, a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on acquiring, developing and commercializing proprietary products that address the needs of patients.
The company was incorporated in 1998 and Proehl was the first fulltime employee. Proehl is now the CEO and president. The company originally pursued drug development in gastroenterology, but it now has a diverse product line and has expanded into the fields of endocrinology and diabetes care.
During Proehl’s leadership, the company endured a big decline in its stock price, followed soon by a massive price increase in that same stock. In 2010, the company lost a patent lawsuit, which resulted in a significant loss of revenue. But when the verdict was reversed on appeal, Santarus surged forward again. In 2012, Santarus achieved record revenues.
Proehl says that one key to the organization’s success has been the talented management team, which is committed to Santarus. Proehl has worked with the executive team to maximize the value of the company’s proprietary technology, diversify the company’s future product offerings and deliver greater shareholder value. He also encourages team leaders to look at how the company’s products can be used in multiple ways.
Santarus competes in markets dominated by large proprietary pharmaceutical and generic drug companies. As such, Proehl has had to develop innovative ways to differentiate the company’s products in the marketplace. The organization has thrived by developing and promoting prescription products, and Santarus has focused its resources on a concentrated group of physicians with highly efficient selling activities and marketing campaigns that highlight the strengths of the company’s products.
Proehl’s vision is for Santarus to become a premier specialty biopharmaceutical company with a diversified portfolio of commercial and development-stage products.