Ironwood to cut headcount by 10 percent

Raj Iyengar  working in the lab at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals. File photo: David L Ryan / Globe Staff.
Raj Iyengar working in the lab at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals. File photo: David L Ryan / Globe Staff.

Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Cambridge company perhaps best known for a drug that treats a form of irritable bowel syndrome, said Wednesday that it is reducing headcount by about 10 percent to “align its workforce with its strategy to grow a leading gastrointestinal (GI) therapeutics company.”

That would amount to about 50 positions, leaving the company with about 480 full-time employees, Ironwood said.

Linzess is approved to treat both irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) in adults.

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In October 2012, Ironwood signed a lease extension that included an addition of about 93,000 square feet of space. The expansion gave the company about 300,000 square feet of total space.

In a press release, Ironwood said that it estimates that it will incur aggregate charges of $4 million to $4.5 million for severance and benefit costs in connection with its reduction in workforce. The reduction in workforce is expected to be complete during the first quarter of 2014. As maximizing Linzess is core to Ironwood’s strategy, Ironwood’s field-based sales force and medical science liaison team are excluded from the workforce reduction.

“We are grateful to all of our employees for their passion and hard work in bringing Linzess to adult patients; we’ve now developed significant expertise in gastrointestinal diseases and in guanylate cyclase pharmacology, providing us with a strong foundation and promising path forward as we continue to build a leading GI company,” Peter Hecht, chief executive of Ironwood, in a statement. “While it is difficult to part with any of our talented colleagues, we believe this action effectively aligns our resources with our strategy and positions us to maximize value both for patients and for our fellow shareholders.”