Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc. changed leaders Thursday, with Adrian Adams succeeding Armando Anido as chief executive officer and president.

Adams joined and Anido left the Malvern company's board of directors, which is hoping to find profitability from the two drugs it has on the market. Anido "agreed to step down," according to a company statement.

The company lost $21.1 million through three quarters of 2011.

Referring to Adams, board chairman Rolf Classon said in a statement: "We believe that his visionary leadership and operational expertise will lead Auxilium to profitability and success as we seek to maximize the value of Xiaflex and Testim while delivering on our current pipeline."

On a down day for the wider market, Auxilium shares rose 2.64 percent to close at $17.86.

Adams helped guide three public companies (Inspire, Sepracor, and Kos) before they were bought out by larger drugmakers (Merck, Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma, and Abbott Laboratories, respectively).

Adams wouldn't rule out a similar scenario at Auxilium because stockholders sometimes demand it, but he said he would not have taken the job if that was the board's stated plan.

"The company is moving into a different phase of growth," Adams said, "focusing on commercialization and leveraging the assets it has, and the board was looking for someone with my skill sets to do that."

Testim is a testosterone replacement therapy. Xiaflex is an injectable drug for treating a rare condition called Dupuytren's contracture, in which a patient cannot straighten his or her fingers.

The company says 300,000 people a year are diagnosed with Dupuytren's contracture and 70,000 opt for surgery, so Xiaflex might offer an alternative to surgery. Adams said he wanted to push sales through greater awareness. The company is already running TV ads in seven markets, including Philadelphia.

Auxilium has about 550 employees, with 200 in Malvern and 100 at a manufacturing facility in Horsham. Adams said he had no immediate plans to cut staff or consolidate facilities.

Adams' most recent position was CEO with Neurologix Inc., a start-up in Fort Lee, N.J., but in announcing his hiring in September, the company also said it was running out of cash and hoped to raise $25 million to $40 million. That didn't happen, so Adams departed.