Discovery of Linaclotide
The diagram below illustrates the three dimensional structure of the linaclotide molecule.
Linaclotide was discovered as a result of Ironwood’s pioneering research on the intestinal enzyme guanylate cyclase-C (GC-C) and went on to become the first GC-C agonist approved in the U.S., establishing GC-C agonists as a new class of medicines.
GC-C is found mainly on the surface of the intestine and is thought to be a potential target for a variety of gastrointestinal diseases. Ironwood developed an orally available peptide – linaclotide – that selectively hits this target and can survive the harsh acidic environment of the stomach to reach GC-C in the intestine.