Ironwood: 2013 was ‘a transformational year,’ thanks to sales of new drug

Ironwood researchers at work. File photo. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff.
Ironwood researchers at work. File photo. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff.

Cambridge drug maker Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Tuesday that its drug Linzess has had net product sales of $138 million since its launch in December 2012, making 2013 “a transformational year” for the company.

Transformational year or not, Ironwood disclosed earlier this month that it was eliminating 50 jobs, or 10 percent of its head count, so it could “align its workforce with its strategy to grow’’ into a leading gastrointestinal therapeutics company.

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 a statement included in Tuesday’s press release, Ironwood chief executive Peter Hecht said: “2013 was a transformational year for Ironwood. Linzess had a strong first full year in the market with greater than 200,000 unique adult patients filling a Linzess prescription, more than 580,000 total prescriptions filled, over 50,000 health care practitioners gaining experience with Linzess, approximately $119 million of net product sales for 2013, and approximately $138 million of net product sales since Linzess launched in December 2012. We are executing on our strategy to grow a leading GI therapeutics company by building on the success of Linzess, leveraging our commercial capabilities and advancing a pipeline of multiple GI and guanylate cyclase programs. Through the prudent and efficient allocation of our capital across these priority growth platforms, we are working to maximize value for patients and for our fellow shareholders.”

To help market Linzess in the US, Ironwood has struck a partnership with Forest Laboratories Inc., a New York-based drug maker that has a strong network of sales people.

For its fourth quarter, Forest has reported that Linzess sales were $51 million, an increase of about 48 percent quarter over quarter, Ironwood noted in its release.