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Ironwood's Bowel Drug Sales Disappoint

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. ( TheStreet) -- First quarter sales of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals' (IRWD - Get Report) irritable bowel drug Linzess missed Wall Street expectations by a wide margin but marketing partner Forest Labs (FRX) forecast improved sales for the remainder of the year.

Ironwood shares are down 10% to $16.05 in Tuesday pre-market trading.

Net sales of Linzess totaled $4.5 million for the quarter ended March 30, well below analyst expectations of sales in the $11-13 million range. Linzess was approved in December, so the first quarter represented the first three months of the drug's commercial launch. The drug is sold in the U.S. by Forest Labs under a partner with Ironwood.

Neither company provided an explanation for Linzess' disappointing first-quarter sales, but J.P. Morgan analyst Geoff Meacham, in an email to clients, blamed inventory write-downs from the fourth quarter of last year.

Forest Labs said it expects Linzess sales of $170 million for its 2014 fiscal year which ends March 31, 2014. J.P. Morgan's Meacham says the Linzess guidance is higher than the current consensus of approximately $155 million.

-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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