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Oct 29, 2012
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Globetrotting with linaclotide

Why Ironwood picked AstraZeneca to co-develop linaclotide in China

AstraZeneca plc emerged as Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s preferred partner for linaclotide in China based on its willingness to support the biotech's rollout of the guanylate cyclase C (GCC; GUCY2C) agonist in the U.S. In a mutually beneficial move, Ironwood's U.S. sales reps will bolster their presence with GI doctors by simultaneously promoting the pharma's Nexium esomeprazole.

FDA approved linaclotide to treat irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) in August. Ironwood will co-market the drug as Linzess in the U.S. with Forest Laboratories Inc.

In that 2007 deal, Forest also received exclusive rights to the product in Canada and Mexico in exchange for $70 million up front and up to $260 million in milestones. Ironwood also is eligible for royalties from sales in Canada and Mexico.

The Forest agreement was the first of four regional partnerships Ironwood has put in place for linaclotide. In the U.S., the company consistently has said it will build a commercial organization of its own.

"Our strategy for doing deals has always been to find the best partner for each territory," said James O'Mara, Ironwood's VP of corporate development. "It might be easier...

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