Ironwood (IRWD) Bulls Targeting 2H Growth for Linzess
Ironwood Pharma (IRWD) an intriguing small-cap that has shown relative strength recently breaking out of nearly 18-month base and bullish options flow with over 9000 August $15 calls bought on 6/25. IRWD is a $2B biotech that focuses on gastrointestinal (GI) products including linaclotide, a guanylate cyclase type-C agonist for the treatment of adults suffering from irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) or chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) under the LINZESS name. The treatment works by increasing the draw of fluid in the intestines to help speed up movement of food through the gut. It isn’t a laxative, even though it sounds like it, as the treatment can proactively manage symptoms of IBS and CIC like stomach pain. IRWD sees a big opportunity for LINZESS given growth in demand and becoming the volume leader in the market in Q1. They see three key catalysts for growth including greater access to the drug, expanding marketing and promotional focus, and building overall awareness. In March they were at the Barclays healthcare conference talking about their pipeline. “Prior to 2021, we were focused on late staging commercial assets only. We decided to widen the funnel for a few different reasons. One is, we do believe that if we go a little bit earlier, hopefully, we can find — have a better shot of finding that innovative asset. Two, really with the rightsizing of the sales force, it allowed us to change our focus a bit. And that now we have 100 reps. They are selling LINZESS right now, and they also have a co-promote with Alnylam, and they’re promoting GIVLAARI as well. So right now, we don’t have the urgency to add another product to a much larger sales force. And it gives us the opportunity or the flexibility to go a bit earlier stage. We might have a win here as well. Hopefully, earlier stage would be — maybe at a more reasonable valuation that we would be able to successfully compete in as well.” IRWD named a new permanent CEO recently. The $2.07B company trades 11X earnings, 5.2X sales, and 4.7X cash. Analysts have an average target for shares of $10.65 with a Street High $12. Short interest is 12.8%. Hedge fund ownership rose 2%. Sarissa Capital with 16.3M shares and adding another 2.35M.