Resilience at InterMune: A Journey Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

by Homa Bahrami

Resilience at InterMune: A Journey Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death
This case study is about a California-based biotechnology company that has experienced many ups and downs throughout its 17-year history. Despite many setbacks, it ultimately succeeded in developing and getting approval for an orphan drug used to treat IPF, a deadly lung disease. InterMune was acquired by Roche/Genentech for $8.3 billion in September 2014; the price represented a significant premium over InterMune's trading price at the time. The protagonist, InterMune's CEO, Dan Welch, joined the company in 2003 and has led InterMune through numerous strategic pivots, leadership changes, clinical trial disappointments, multiple divestitures, and ultimately the sale of the company. Resilience and the capacity to bounce back are at the core of this case study. The narrative focuses on strategic, cultural, and leadership changes and decisions made by Welch, the Board and the leadership team throughout Welch's tenure. Specifically, Welch sharpened InterMune's strategic focus on a few indications, evolved the Board and the leadership team, and orchestrated a grassroots initiative to re-invent InterMune's core values and cultural pillars.

Learning Objectives

To teach students about the volatile nature of the biotech industry and a small resilient growth firm that focused on developing a consistent grassroots, values-based culture and system.


Pub Date: Jun 9, 2015

Discipline: Entrepreneurship

Subjects: Global corporate cultures, Entrepreneurship, Hiring & employment, Corporate strategy, Value creation, Growth strategy

Product #: B5838-PDF-ENG

Industry: Biotechnology

Geography: United States, California

Length: 29 page(s)

Berkeley Haas Case Series
Berkeley Haas Case Series The Berkeley Haas Case Series is a collection of business case studies written by faculty members at the Haas School of Business. Cases are conceived, developed, written, and published throughout the year, on subjects ranging from entrepreneurship and strategy to finance and marketing. Each case includes a teaching note for use in the classroom.


Berkeley Haas Case Series

A new collection of business case studies from Berkeley Haas

The aim of the Berkeley Haas Case Series is to incite business innovation by clarifying disruptive trends and questioning the status quo.

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