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Ironwood drug for irritable bowel syndrome is now available in Europe

 Raj Iyengar working in the lab at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals. File photo: David L Ryan / Globe Staff.
Raj Iyengar working in the lab at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals. File photo: David L Ryan / Globe Staff.

Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Cambridge and its European partner, Almirall S.A. of Spain, said that a new Ironwood drug for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation is now available in Germany, the UK, and the Nordic countries.

The drug is called linaclotide, and it has been available in the US in December under the brand name Linzess. (Ironwood’s partner in the US is Forest Laboratories Inc. of New York.)

In Europe, Almirall is marketing linaclotide under the brand name Constella. In November, European regulators approved Constella for adults with moderate to severe irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, the companies said. Plans call for Constella to become available in several other European countries by the end of the year.

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Given the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation --- it is estimated to afflict 30 million to 40 million Americans, and 15 million adults in Europe --- some Wall Street analysts believe that the drug could eventually attain blockbuster status, ringing up global sales of more than $1 billion a year.

“Bringing linaclotide to appropriate patients worldwide is an important aspect of Ironwood’s mission,” Tom McCourt, Ironwood’s chief commercial officer, said in a statement. “Building on our strong initial launch of linaclotide in the U.S., we now hope to make a difference in the lives of adult European IBS-C patients suffering from this prevalent and very bothersome condition.”

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