David E Shaw: 10 Epic Years with Ironwood Pharma
On June 4 2014 I retired from the board of Ironwood Pharma after 10 years as a director of the company, including chair of the Compensation Committee.
Over that decade the company was transformed from a biopharmaceutical start-up enterprise (originally named Microbia) to a leading player in the development of novel therapeutic medicines.
Ironwood is a fascinating case study in how to build a great company via an exceptional team committed to excellence in the creation of long term value for patients, shareholders and employees. In the world of biopharmaceuticals, the journey to building a great company can be incredibly complex and challenging, sometimes extending over more than a decade per product.
Ironwood’s discovery of linaclotide led to commercialization of the company’s first product, Linzess, for gastrointestinal disorders. The journey began with the Ironwood R&D team’s pioneering research on the intestinal enzyme guanylate cyclase-C (GC-C).
My association with the remarkable evolution of Ironwood over the past decade has been a great experience. Among many other things, I am grateful for the support of my Ironwood friends as I struggled with viral encephalitis at nearby Massachusetts General Hospital in 2011.