SAN DIEGO, July 7, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MediciNova Inc, a biopharmaceutical company publicly traded on the NASDAQ Global Market (Nasdaq:MNOV) and the Hercules Market of the Osaka Securities Exchange (Code Number:4875), today reported that the June 22, 2010 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) USA included an article related to the mechanism of action of MN-166 (ibudilast), as an emerging therapeutic for neurological disorders. The research was lead by Dr. Elias Lolis at Yale University, and the article identifies Macrophage Migration Inhibitor Factor (MIF) as a potent and selective target for ibudilast which likely accounts for some of the drug's anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective action. MIF is one of the oldest-known pro-inflammatory cytokines thought to be involved in a number of serious medical conditions including severe systemic inflammation, autoimmunity and neuronal death and dysfunction following spinal cord injury. 

In the article, Dr. Lolis and collaborators describe the differentiated means by which ibudilast and its closely related novel analog, AV1013, inhibit MIF action. The investigators applied biological, biochemical and physical-chemical approaches demonstrating that ibudilast and AV1013 inhibit MIF's enzymatic and biologic action by interacting with the MIF protein at a region that is not considered the "active" site. Rather, they result in a change in the protein structure and subsequent inhibition of MIF activity. Accordingly, the identification that MN-166 and AV1013 selectively and potently inhibit MIF provides insights to mechanisms whereby these drug candidates may provide benefit in multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain and drug addiction; neurological conditions that may share common disease pathways. Moreover, ibudilast has shown efficacy in animal models and early-stage human clinical trials in these conditions.

Dr. Lolis' lab at Yale University is one of the leading research groups studying MIF biochemistry and biology and his group and collaborators spent nearly three years developing the approaches and obtaining the data presented in the PNAS article. He noted that, "Our studies reveal an allosteric site explaining the mechanism of action of these drug candidates and additionally identifying a new potential site for drug discovery targeting MIF-mediated diseases."  Dr. Kirk Johnson, MediciNova's Chief Scientific Officer and a co-author of the article, added, "These research findings highlight the unique character of these drug candidates and, given the correlation of MIF inhibition and clinical drug levels, aid our understanding of MN-166 clinical action." MN-166 has completed a phase 2 proof-of-concept trial in which its potential neuroprotective utility in progressive multiple sclerosis was first illustrated and recently reported in Neurology. Additionally, MN-166 was studied in a phase 1b/2a trial in chronic neuropathic pain and is currently being evaluated in a phase 1b/2a trial for opioid withdrawal in heroin addicts. Yuichi Iwaki, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of MediciNova noted that, "We are pleased with the research and clinical development progress with MN-166 and analogs and hope to expand clinical testing with corporate partner participation."

About MediciNova

MediciNova, Inc. is a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company founded upon acquiring and developing novel, small-molecule therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases; with a commercial focus on the U.S. market. Through strategic alliances primarily with Japanese pharmaceutical companies, MediciNova holds rights to a diversified portfolio of clinical and preclinical product candidates, each of which MediciNova believes has a well-characterized and differentiated therapeutic profile, attractive commercial potential and patent assets having claims of commercially adequate scope. MediciNova's pipeline includes six clinical-stage compounds for the treatment of acute exacerbations of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations, multiple sclerosis and other neurologic conditions, asthma, interstitial cystitis, solid tumor cancers, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, preterm labor and urinary incontinence and two preclinical-stage compounds for the treatment of thrombotic disorders. MediciNova's current strategy is to focus on its two prioritized product candidates, MN-221 for the treatment of acute exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations and MN-166 for the treatment of multiple sclerosis or chronic pain or drug addiction. Each drug candidate is currently in clinical trial under U.S. INDs and MediciNova is considering strategic collaborations to support further development of the MN-221 and MN-166 programs. Additionally, MediciNova will seek to monetize its other product candidates. For more information on MediciNova, Inc., please visit

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Statements in this press release that are not historical in nature constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements regarding MediciNova's clinical trials supporting safety and efficacy of product candidates and the potential novelty of such product candidates as treatments for disease, plans and objectives for present and future clinical trials and product development, strategies, future performance, expectations, assumptions, financial condition, liquidity and capital resources. These forward-looking statements may be preceded by, followed by or otherwise include the words "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "intends," "estimates," "projects," "can," "could," "may," "will," "would," or similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, include, but are not limited to, the risks and uncertainties inherent in clinical trials and product development and commercialization, such as the uncertainty in results of clinical trials for product candidates, the uncertainty of whether the results of clinical trials will be predictive of results in later stages of product development, the risk of delays or failure to obtain or maintain regulatory approval, the risk of failure of the third parties upon whom MediciNova relies to conduct its clinical trials and manufacture its product candidates to perform as expected, the risk of increased cost and delays due to delays in the commencement, enrollment, completion or analysis of clinical trials or significant issues regarding the adequacy of clinical trial designs or the execution of clinical trials and the timing, cost and design of future clinical trials and research activities, the timing of expected filings with the FDA, MediciNova's failure to execute strategic plans or strategies successfully, MediciNova's collaborations with third parties, MediciNova's ability to realize the anticipated strategic and financial benefits from its acquisition of Avigen, Inc., to integrate the two ibudilast development programs and to pursue discussions with potential partners to secure a strategic collaboration to advance the clinical development of the combined development program, the availability of funds to complete product development plans and MediciNova's ability to raise sufficient capital when needed, intellectual property or contract rights, and the other risks and uncertainties described in MediciNova's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009 and its subsequent periodic reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K. Undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. MediciNova disclaims any intent or obligation to revise or update these forward-looking statements.
CONTACT:  MediciNova, Inc.          Shintaro Asako, Chief Financial Officer          (858) 373-1500

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