Twenty years ago, seven people founded a company with a simple mission: to create innovative drugs that make a meaningful difference in patients' lives. On January 5, 1998, this anti-infective drug development and metabolic engineering company was incorporated as Microbia, Inc. By the company's 10th anniversary, Microbia had ceased working on anti-infective programs and changed its name to Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The decision to discontinue its anti-infective programs was made in order to prioritize the most promising programs, including a medicine that Ironwood discovered in its own labs, shepherded through clinical development, and brought to market so it could impact the lives of millions of patients - an achievement only a few companies in this industry have done before.
Ironwood has continued to grow, change, and thrive, with three commercial medicines, a pipeline of early- to late-stage candidates, and a committed and talented team who continue to shape and build the company.
In 2018, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Ironwood, the vital role played by each of our team members in its ongoing evolution, and the forward momentum that we believe will create a bright future for decades to come. The spirit at Ironwood is electric. We are motivated to make a difference for patients and build something of value.
And we're just getting started.
Participating in the annual Bio-Ball to support Special Olympics Massachusetts has quickly become a favorite Ironwoodian pastime. But it’s about more than just having fun playing basketball for a great cause; our spirit of camaraderie on the court is reflected in our everyday interactions, and we value the journey as much as the goal itself.
Milestones can be a cause for celebration and often provide an important opportunity for reflection. On the occasion of our 20th anniversary, Ironwood co-founder Brian Cali shares four thank you notes addressed to some of the many people who have made getting to this milestone possible.
At Ironwood, innovation is a way of life. We aren't afraid to ask big questions, follow a contrarian hypothesis, and take bold chances. We let the science lead us to research new therapeutic areas or classes of medicine. And innovation certainly isn't the sole province of R&D; everyone across the company pushes the boundaries of convention and strives for excellence.
For our 20th anniversary, we're more focused on the next 20 years - and beyond. Ironwood's team make the company's long-term success an everyday habit through an ownership mindset, boundless collaboration and a shared goal.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. As we look back on the past 20 years, these images of both major milestones and small moments capture where we've been, who we are, and where we're going.
Ironwood incorporated as Microbia, Inc., an anti-infective drug development, and metabolic engineering company. Founded by Peter Hecht, Brian Cali, Todd Milne, Eric Summers, Gerry Fink, Joe Cook, and Gina Miller, based on research and ideas generated at MIT's Whitehead Institute, Carberry's Bakery, and Peter's backyard.
Microbia opens first office in Cambridge with nine Ph.D. scientists, one small lab, one office, one conference room, and one computer.
First venture financing: We were fortunate to attract a syndicate of like-minded investors focused on long-term value, including venture firms Polaris, Venrock, and Aberdare, as well as a number of angel investors.
Moved from our first real space on Memorial Drive to One Kendall Square and topped off a day of moving and cleaning with our first Halloween party — now a favorite annual tradition.
Hired 50th employee, our first medicinal chemist.
First Pizza Day, a tradition still greeted enthusiastically each month.
First company wide contest held to name conference rooms after great drugs as part of our Great Drug Making initiative.
Established Great Drug Making Seminars, a series of lectures through which Ironwoodians seek to learn from the experiences of the drug developers who came before us.
The first-in-class GC-C agonist that would one day come to be known as LINZESS® (linaclotide) was selected for clinical development.
Shed the last of our original anti-infective programs, a difficult decision but one based on our commitment to data-driven decision making and prioritization of the most promising programs.
Submitted investigational new drug application to the FDA to begin human clinical trials with linaclotide.
Linaclotide Phase II data presented at Digestive Disease Week.
Entered into collaboration with Forest Laboratories, Inc. (which is now part of Allergan plc) to develop and commercialize linaclotide in North America.
Microbia changed name to Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Moved headquarters to 301 Binney Street in Cambridge.
Entered into a license agreement with Almirall S.A. for the development and commercialization of linaclotide in Europe. In 2015, Allergan subsequently acquired these rights from Almirall.
Hired our first commercial team member — one step closer to bringing medicines to patients.
Positive top-line data reported for two Phase III trials of linaclotide.
Entered into license agreement with Astellas Pharma, Inc. to develop and commercialize linaclotide in Japan.
What is LINZESS?
LINZESS® (linaclotide) is a prescription medication used in adults to treat irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC). "Idiopathic" means the cause of the constipation is unknown. It is not known if LINZESS is safe and effective in children less than 18 years of age.
IMPORTANT RISK INFORMATION
Before you take LINZESS, tell your doctor about your medical conditions, including if you are:
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
LINZESS can cause serious side effects, including diarrhea, the most common side effect, which can sometimes be severe. Diarrhea often begins within the first 2 weeks of LINZESS treatment. Stop taking LINZESS and call your doctor right away if you get severe diarrhea during treatment with LINZESS.
Other common side effects of LINZESS include gas, stomach-area (abdominal) pain, swelling, or a feeling of fullness or pressure in your abdomen (distension). Call your doctor or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away if you develop unusual or severe stomach-area (abdominal) pain, especially if you also have bright red, bloody stools or black stools that look like tar.
These are not all the possible side effects of LINZESS. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
DUZALLO can cause serious side effects
Kidney problems: Some people taking DUZALLO may have kidney problems such as a sudden decrease in kidney function (acute kidney failure). Your healthcare provider may do blood tests to check your kidneys while you are taking DUZALLO.
Serious skin rash and serious allergic reactions: Severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions and skin reactions including Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis and exfoliative dermatitis have been reported in some people taking allopurinol, one of the components of DUZALLO. Stop taking DUZALLO and get emergency medical help if you have any of the following symptoms:
Liver Problems: Liver problems can happen in people who take DUZALLO. Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following symptoms: loss of appetite, weight loss, feeling very tired, nausea or vomiting, yellowing of your skin or the white part of your eyes, itching, dark or brown (tea-colored) urine, or pain on the upper right side of your stomach.
Heart Problems: People who take DUZALLO can have serious heart problems including heart attack and stroke. It is not known that DUZALLO causes these problems.
Blood Problems: DUZALLO can affect your bone marrow and cause low red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. If your blood cell counts become very low, you can get infections or have bleeding problems. Taking DUZALLO with certain other medicines can increase your chance of having blood problems.
Drowsiness: DUZALLO can cause you to be drowsy. Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how DUZALLO affects you.
The most common side effects of DUZALLO include headache, flu, higher levels of blood creatinine (a measure of kidney function), heartburn (acid reflux), skin rash, nausea, and diarrhea. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all of the possible side effects of DUZALLO. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
DUZALLO is a prescription medicine that contains 2 medicines, a URAT1 inhibitor called lesinurad and a xanthine oxidase inhibitor called allopurinol. DUZALLO is used to lower uric acid levels in the blood in people with gout, when allopurinol alone has not worked well enough.
Do not take ZURAMPIC if you have severe kidney problems, have received a kidney transplant or are on dialysis, have a fast breakdown of cancer cells that can lead to high uric acid (tumor lysis syndrome), or have a rare inherited condition that causes too much uric acid in the blood (Lesch-Nyhan syndrome).
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. ZURAMPIC may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how ZURAMPIC works.
ZURAMPIC may cause serious side effects including heart problems. People who take ZURAMPIC can have serious heart problems, including heart attack and stroke. It is not known that ZURAMPIC causes these problems.
The most common side effects of ZURAMPIC are headache, flu, higher levels of blood creatinine (a measure of kidney function), and heartburn.
Tell your doctor if you have any side effects that bother you or that do not go away. These are not all of the possible side effects of ZURAMPIC.
For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
ZURAMPIC is a prescription medicine used together with a xanthine oxidase inhibitor such as allopurinol or Uloric in adults with gout who still have a high uric acid level.