SAN DIEGO, March 3, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MediciNova Inc, a biopharmaceutical company publicly traded on the Nasdaq Global Market (Nasdaq:MNOV) and the Jasdaq Market of the Osaka Securities Exchange (4875) and Zhejiang Medicine Co., Ltd. traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (600216) today announced the signing of a letter of intent for the formation of a Joint Venture Company to develop and commercialize MediciNova's MN-221 in China. "The formation of the Joint Venture Company with Zhejiang Medicine Co., Ltd. provides a unique opportunity to advance the development of MN-221 with a very successful Chinese pharmaceutical partner," said Yuichi Iwaki M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of MediciNova, Inc. Chunbo Li, Chairman of Zhejiang Medicine Co., Ltd., commented, "This JV can provide an enabling path for MN-221 as a promising therapeutic to become available to the millions of patients in China who suffer from acute bronchospasm. We are very pleased to be joining with MediciNova in providing better solutions for asthma patients" About MN-221 MN-221 is a novel, highly selective, beta2-adrenergic receptor agonist in development as an intravenous treatment for acute exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations. Preclinical testing in vitro and in vivo shows MN-221 to be more selective for the beta(2)-adrenergic receptor than other beta(2)-adrenergic receptor agonists commonly used for acute exacerbations of asthma. This improved selectivity, coupled with its partial agonist activity at beta(1)-adrenergic receptors, may yield bronchodilation without harmful cardiovascular side effects that are commonly observed with other agents. MediciNova has completed several Phase I and 2a trials, and is currently conducting a Phase 2b study in patients with acute exacerbations of asthma. MN-221 demonstrated significant improvements in FEV1 in all asthma trials as well as a 45% decrease in the hospitalization rate when added to current standard of care in a Phase 2a study of acute asthma patients in the emergency room. MediciNova also completed a Phase 1b clinical study of MN-221 in patients with stable, moderate to severe COPD in which MN-221 demonstrated clinically significant improvements in FEV1 with no clinically relevant safety concerns. MediciNova acquired an exclusive, worldwide (excluding Japan), sublicensable license to MN-221 from Kissei Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. The intellectual property acquired from Kissei includes extensive preclinical and clinical safety data.