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Ironwood Pharma skids following 1st-quarter report

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc. slumped Tuesday after the company reported disappointing first-quarter results.

THE SPARK: The Cambridge, Mass., company reported a bigger loss and less revenue than analysts expected. Ironwood and its partner, Forest Laboratories Inc., are selling the bowel drug Linzess, which reached the market in December, driving up Ironwood's marketing costs.

The company said it lost $93.9 million, or 87 cents per share, in the first quarter. It posted a loss of $35.6 million, or 34 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue fell to $3.3 million from $12.2 million.

Analysts, on average, were expecting a smaller loss of 64 cents per share, and $10.9 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Ironwood said its sales and administrative costs more than doubled to $33.4 million, and it reported $24.7 million in costs related to collaborations, up from $2.1 million.

THE BIG PICTURE: The Food and Drug Administration approved Linzess in August as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and for chronic constipation. Ironwood said sales totaled $4.5 million in the first quarter, and about 70,000 prescriptions for Linzess were filled between Dec. 17 and April 12. The company said around 75 percent of adult patients who have commercial insurance have access to the drug.

Sales of Linzess have totaled about $24 million since the launch. Forest said Tuesday that it expects $170 million in sales through March 31, 2014.

Almirall SA plans to start marketing the drug in Europe during the second quarter under the name Constella.

SHARE ACTION: Ironwood shares declined $1.11, or 6.2 percent, to $16.78 in afternoon trading. The stock started the session up more than 60 percent in 2013.