Ironwood focuses on sales, sacrifices R&D in restructuring

Ironwood Pharmaceuticals CEO Peter Hecht

Ironwood Pharmaceuticals ($IRWD) is finding that the path to building commercial operations isn't always a smooth one. The Cambridge, MA-based biotech--which won approval for its irritable bowel syndrome drug Linzess two years ago--is cutting 10% of its workforce in a shakeup. That amounts to about 50 jobs.

According to CEO Peter Hecht, the cutbacks at Ironwood are a necessary part of properly lining up the biotech's priorities with the resources at hand. And with that in mind, the sales operations and medical liaison team are being left intact to carry on with the marketing push behind Linzess.

Drawing up to the rear of Linzess marketing is R&D, which is working on a pipeline of GI and guanylate cyclase clinical development programs. And that could prove fatal for some of the company's research staff. A spokesperson for the company told the Boston Business Journal that most of the cuts will be in R&D and administration.

"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," Hecht said 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."

The layoffs will be completed this quarter and will trigger a $4 million to $4.5 million charge.

- here's the release
- read the report from the BBJ