BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: IRWD), a GI-focused healthcare company, today announced that Mark Mallon plans to step down as chief executive officer and a member of the Ironwood Board of Directors in order to pursue another leadership opportunity, effective March 12, 2021. The Ironwood Board has named Thomas McCourt, Ironwood’s president, as interim CEO effective upon Mr. Mallon’s departure. Julie McHugh, Ironwood’s Board chair, will become executive chair of the Board of Directors effective upon Mr. Mallon’s departure and, in that capacity, will continue to lead the Board of Directors as well as provide counsel and guidance to the senior management team through the transition.
The Board plans to initiate a candidate search with the assistance of a leading executive search firm to identify Mr. Mallon’s permanent successor.
“On behalf of the entire Board, I want to thank Mark for his leadership during a transformative time in Ironwood’s history,” said Julie McHugh, chair of Ironwood’s Board. “The Board is confident that Ironwood is on the right path to long term value creation. The resilience and strength of LINZESS, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with continued profit and cash generation in 2020 provides a solid foundation for the future. With a strong bench of leadership talent and the support of the Board, we will strive to continue to build on our positive momentum while remaining true to our vision of becoming the leading GI-focused healthcare company in the U.S.”
Ms. McHugh continued, “Since joining Ironwood in 2009, Tom has been a key member of the leadership team and was critical to the successful launch and commercialization of LINZESS. Tom is a GI healthcare industry veteran with a deep understanding of Ironwood’s business, making him an ideal fit for this role as the Board conducts its search. I look forward to continuing to work with Tom and to lead the Board in my role as executive chair.”
Mr. McCourt said, “I look forward to serving as interim CEO as we work to execute our strategy of maximizing LINZESS, building an innovative GI development portfolio and delivering sustainable profits and cash. We are steadfast in our mission of advancing the treatment of GI diseases and redefining the standard of care for GI patients. With disciplined execution, we believe Ironwood is well positioned for 2021 and beyond.”
“I’m proud of the strong foundation we have built together, and Ironwood’s disciplined execution in 2020 underscores the outstanding focus and commitment of the entire Ironwood team,” said Mr. Mallon. “My decision to leave Ironwood was not easy, but I believe the chance to pursue multiple passions of mine is the right decision for me and my family. I have every confidence in Ironwood’s ability to continue driving growth in its efforts to deliver value for patients and shareholders with Tom at the helm.”
About Thomas McCourt
Tom McCourt joined Ironwood in 2009 and has served as president since April 2019. Prior to April 2019, he served as senior vice president of marketing and sales and chief commercial officer. Prior to joining Ironwood, Mr. McCourt led the U.S. brand team for denosumab at Amgen Inc. from April 2008 to August 2009. Prior to that, Mr. McCourt was with Novartis AG from 2001 to 2008, where he directed the launch and growth of ZELNORM™ for the treatment of patients with IBS-C and CIC and held a number of senior commercial roles, including vice president of strategic marketing and operations. Mr. McCourt was also part of the founding team at Astra-Merck Inc., leading the development of the medical affairs and science liaison group and then serving as brand manager for PRILOSEC® and NEXIUM®. Mr. McCourt serves on the board of directors of Acceleron Pharma Inc., including as a member of the audit committee and the chair of the nominating and governance committee, and on the board of trustees for the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE). Mr. McCourt has a degree in pharmacy from the University of Wisconsin.
About Julie McHugh
Julie McHugh joined Ironwood’s board of directors in February 2014 and has served as the chair since April 2019. Ms. McHugh most recently served as chief operating officer for Endo Health Solutions, Inc., or Endo, from March 2010 through May 2013, where she was responsible for the specialty pharmaceutical and generic drug businesses. Prior to joining Endo, Ms. McHugh was the chief executive officer of Nora Therapeutics, Inc. Before that she served as company group chairman for the worldwide virology business unit of Johnson & Johnson, or J&J, and previously she was president of Centocor, Inc., a J&J subsidiary. While at J&J, Ms. McHugh oversaw the development and launches of several products, including Remicade® (infliximab), Prezista® (darunavir) and Intelence® (etravirine), and she was responsible for oversight of a research and development portfolio including compounds targeting HIV, hepatitis C, and tuberculosis. Prior to joining Centocor, Inc., Ms. McHugh led the marketing communications for gastrointestinal drug Prilosec® (omeprazole) at Astra-Merck Inc. She currently chairs the board of visitors for the Smeal College of Business of Pennsylvania State University as well as serves on the board of directors of Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Lantheus Holdings, Inc. and Trevena, Inc., all publicly held companies, and The New Xellia Group, a privately held company. She previously served on the board of directors for ViroPharma Inc., Epirus Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Association and the New England Healthcare Institute. Ms. McHugh received her M.B.A. degree from St. Joseph’s University and her B.S. degree from Pennsylvania State University.
About Ironwood Pharmaceuticals
Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: IRWD) is a GI-focused healthcare company dedicated to creating medicines that make a difference for patients living with GI diseases. We discovered, developed and are commercializing linaclotide, the U.S. branded prescription market leader for adults with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) or chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC).
Ironwood was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Boston, Mass. For more information, please visit our website at www.ironwoodpharma.com or www.twitter.com/ironwoodpharma; information that may be important to investors will be routinely posted in both these locations.
About LINZESS (linaclotide)
LINZESS® is the #1 prescribed brand for the treatment of adult patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) or chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC), based on IQVIA data.
LINZESS is a once-daily capsule that helps relieve the abdominal pain, constipation, and overall abdominal symptoms of bloating, discomfort and pain associated with IBS-C, as well as the constipation, infrequent stools, hard stools, straining, and incomplete evacuation associated with CIC. The recommended dose is 290 mcg for IBS-C patients and 145 mcg for CIC patients, with a 72-mcg dose approved for use in CIC depending on individual patient presentation or tolerability. LINZESS should be taken at least 30 minutes before the first meal of the day.
LINZESS is contraindicated in pediatric patients less than 6 years of age. The safety and effectiveness of LINZESS in pediatric patients less than 18 years of age have not been established. In neonatal mice, linaclotide increased fluid secretion as a consequence of guanylate cyclase-C (GC-C) agonism resulting in mortality within the first 24 hours due to dehydration. Due to increased intestinal expression of GC-C, patients less than 6 years of age may be more likely than patients 6 years of age and older to develop severe diarrhea and its potentially serious consequences. In adults with IBS-C or CIC treated with LINZESS, the most commonly reported adverse event was diarrhea.
LINZESS is not a laxative; it is the first medicine approved by the FDA in a class called GC-C agonists. LINZESS contains a peptide called linaclotide that activates the GC-C receptor in the intestine. Activation of GC-C is thought to result in increased intestinal fluid secretion and accelerated transit and a decrease in the activity of pain-sensing nerves in the intestine. The clinical relevance of the effect on pain fibers, which is based on nonclinical studies, has not been established.
In the United States, Ironwood and AbbVie co-develop and co-commercialize LINZESS for the treatment of adults with IBS-C or CIC. In Europe, AbbVie markets linaclotide under the brand name CONSTELLA® for the treatment of adults with moderate to severe IBS-C. In Japan, Ironwood’s partner Astellas markets linaclotide under the brand name LINZESS for the treatment of adults with IBS-C or CIC. Ironwood also has partnered with AstraZeneca for development and commercialization of LINZESS in China, and with AbbVie for development and commercialization of linaclotide in all other territories worldwide.
LINZESS Important Safety Information
INDICATIONS AND USAGE
LINZESS (linaclotide) is indicated in adults for the treatment of both irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC).
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
WARNING: RISK OF SERIOUS DEHYDRATION IN PEDIATRIC PATIENTS
LINZESS is contraindicated in patients less than 6 years of age. In nonclinical studies in neonatal mice, administration of a single, clinically relevant adult oral dose of linaclotide caused deaths due to dehydration. Use of LINZESS should be avoided in patients 6 years to less than 18 years of age. The safety and effectiveness of LINZESS have not been established in patients less than 18 years of age.
- LINZESS is contraindicated in patients less than 6 years of age due to the risk of serious dehydration.
- LINZESS is contraindicated in patients with known or suspected mechanical gastrointestinal obstruction.
Warnings and Precautions
- LINZESS is contraindicated in patients less than 6 years of age. The safety and effectiveness of LINZESS in patients less than 18 years of age have not been established. In neonatal mice, linaclotide increased fluid secretion as a consequence of GC-C agonism resulting in mortality within the first 24 hours due to dehydration. Due to increased intestinal expression of GC-C, patients less than 6 years of age may be more likely than patients 6 years of age and older to develop severe diarrhea and its potentially serious consequences.
- Use of LINZESS should be avoided in pediatric patients 6 years to less than 18 years of age. Although there were no deaths in older juvenile mice, given the deaths in young juvenile mice and the lack of clinical safety and efficacy data in pediatric patients, use of LINZESS should be avoided in pediatric patients 6 years to less than 18 years of age.
- Diarrhea was the most common adverse reaction in LINZESS-treated patients in the pooled IBS-C and CIC double-blind placebo-controlled trials. The incidence of diarrhea was similar in the IBS-C and CIC populations. Severe diarrhea was reported in 2% of 145 mcg and 290 mcg LINZESS-treated patients, and in <1% of 72 mcg LINZESS-treated CIC patients. If severe diarrhea occurs, dosing should be suspended and the patient rehydrated.
Common Adverse Reactions (incidence ≥2% and greater than placebo)
- In IBS-C clinical trials: diarrhea (20% vs 3% placebo), abdominal pain (7% vs 5%), flatulence (4% vs 2%), headache (4% vs 3%), viral gastroenteritis (3% vs 1%) and abdominal distension (2% vs 1%).
- In CIC trials of a 145 mcg dose: diarrhea (16% vs 5% placebo), abdominal pain (7% vs 6%), flatulence (6% vs 5%), upper respiratory tract infection (5% vs 4%), sinusitis (3% vs 2%) and abdominal distension (3% vs 2%). In a CIC trial of a 72 mcg dose: diarrhea (19% vs 7% placebo) and abdominal distension (2% vs <1%).
Please see full Prescribing Information including Boxed Warning: http://www.allergan.com/assets/pdf/linzess_pi
LINZESS® and CONSTELLA® are registered trademarks of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Any other trademarks referred to in this press release are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.
This press release contains forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, including statements about anticipated leadership transitions, including the expected date and duration thereof, and the Company’s ability to execute on its vision and mission. These forward-looking statements (except as otherwise noted) speak only as of the date of this press release and Ironwood undertakes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements. Each forward-looking statement is subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statement. Applicable risks and uncertainties include those related to the possibility that the leadership transitions do not occur as anticipated for any reason or on the expected timing; effectiveness of development and commercialization efforts by us and our partners; preclinical and clinical development, manufacturing and formulation development; the risk that clinical programs and studies may not progress or develop as anticipated, including that studies are delayed or discontinued for any reason, such as safety, tolerability, enrollment, manufacturing, economic or other reasons, including due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic; the risk that findings from our completed nonclinical and clinical studies may not be replicated in later studies; efficacy, safety and tolerability of linaclotide and our product candidates; the risk that the therapeutic opportunities for LINZESS or our product candidates are not as we expect; decisions by regulatory and judicial authorities; the risk that we may never get sufficient patent protection for linaclotide and other product candidates, that patents for linaclotide or other products may not provide adequate protection from competition, or that we are not able to successfully protect such patents; developments in the intellectual property landscape; challenges from and rights of competitors or potential competitors; the risk that our planned investments do not have the anticipated effect on our company revenues; the risk that we are unable to manage our expenses or cash use, or are unable to commercialize our products as expected; and the risks listed under the heading “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in Ironwood’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2020 and in our subsequent SEC filings. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated containment efforts have had a serious adverse impact on the economy, the severity and duration of which are uncertain. Government stabilization efforts will only partially mitigate the consequences. The extent and duration of the impact on our business and operations is highly uncertain. Factors that will influence the impact on our business, operations and financial results include the duration and extent of the pandemic, the extent of imposed or recommended containment and mitigation measures, and the general economic consequences of the pandemic. The pandemic could have a material adverse impact on our business, operations and financial results for an extended period of time.
SOURCE: Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc.