SAN DIEGO, July 18, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MediciNova, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that is publicly traded on the NASDAQ Global Market (Nasdaq:MNOV) and the Jasdaq Market of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (Code Number: 4875), today announced the funding and regulatory approvals of a NIH-based grant for a Phase 2b trial of MN-166 (ibudilast) in subjects with progressive multiple sclerosis (progressive MS). The principal investigator will be Robert Fox, M.D., M.S., FAAN, Staff Neurologist at the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Cleveland Clinic. The grant is for a funded cooperative effort by the NeuroNEXT clinical trial network within the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The collaboration additionally includes multiple academic centers, MediciNova and advocacy support from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. "MS is the leading cause of non-traumatic neurologic disability in young adults and there are no approved therapies to alter the long-term course of this disease," noted Dr. Robert Fox, who has no financial relationship with MediciNova. He further added that "this will be a very important trial in the U.S. as we will have an opportunity to both evaluate the safety and efficacy of a potential neuroprotective therapy and to advance the development of clinical tools for studying neurodegenerative disorders." Dr. Fox became intrigued with the potential for MN-166 (ibudilast) as a peer-review expert of the summary data from MediciNova's Eastern European trial in relapsing multiple sclerosis wherein neuroprotective activity was indicated (1, 2). He and MediciNova leaders recognized that ibudilast may be best positioned for utility as a new treatment for progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) and, together, began exploring a grant option with the NINDS' NeuroNEXT Phase 2 clinical trial network. Dr. Fox concluded that "we are very pleased to have successfully completed the requisite NIH and FDA review phases and look forward to initiating patient enrollment this fall."