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On January 2, 2013, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s (IRWD - Analyst Report) to a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Ironwood Pharma has been buoyed by a string of good news lately. On December 17, 2012, Ironwood Pharma and partner Forest Laboratories, Inc. announced the US launch of their drug Linzess (linaclotide). The launch followed the approval of the drug by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August 2012 for the treatment (once-daily) of adults suffering from irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) or chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC).

In the EU, approval came in November 2012 under the trade name Constella. Ironwood Pharma is collaborating with Almirall, S.A. in EU for the drug. Ironwood Pharma is also working with its Japanese partner, Astellas Pharma Inc. for the development of linaclotide in Japan and other Asian countries.

Furthermore, Ironwood Pharma performed impressively in the third quarter 2012. On October 16, Ironwood Pharma reported third quarter earnings of 42 cents, which compared favorably with the year-ago loss of 21 cents per share and the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 15 cents.

All the positive factors mentioned above have contributed to the Zacks Consensus Estimate being narrowed to a loss of 81 cents from a loss of $1.21 over the last 90 days. For 2013, the Zacks Consensus Estimate has been revised to a loss of $2.22 per share from a loss of $2.38 over the same time period. 

Other Stocks to Consider

The following pharma companies with favorable Zacks Rank are also performing well and are worth considering.

1) Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (VRX - Analyst Report) carries a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy)

2) Novo Nordisk (NVO - Analyst Report) holds a Zacks #2 Rank (Buy)

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