LOS ANGELES and SAN DIEGO, Aug. 25, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The University of California, Los Angeles' (UCLA's) Departments of Psychology, and Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences Brain Research Institute, and MediciNova, Inc. a biopharmaceutical company traded on the NASDAQ Global Market (Nasdaq:MNOV) and the Jasdaq Market of the Osaka Securities Exchange (Code Number: 4875), today announced that the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, will fund a clinical trial of MN-166 (ibudilast) for alcohol dependence. The proposed trial has also completed FDA review. MediciNova previously announced an ongoing Phase 2a trial of MN-166 in opioid dependence with Columbia University investigators, and a UCLA Phase 2b trial in methamphetamine dependence anticipated to initiate enrollment later this quarter – both funded by the National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA). The alcohol dependence study will be led by Lara Ray, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and the UCLA Brain Research Institute. The trial follows recently completed studies supported by MediciNova's participation in NIAAA's Preclinical Medication Efficacy Testing Program and builds upon ongoing clinical development with other UCLA investigators within the addiction research group who are studying MN-166 in methamphetamine dependence. MediciNova will provide drug supply and regulatory support for the clinical trial. "Emerging research in the field of alcohol dependence has identified some of the same molecular and cellular targets that have been implicated in drug addiction. These targets appear to be affected by ibudilast and are worthy of pharmacotherapy development for alcohol addiction," said Dr. Ray. The combination of the preclinical, NIAAA-sponsored alcohol dependence studies, along with the encouraging clinical development progress in drug addiction and other neurological conditions, provides a solid foundation for our initial clinical research. We are pleased to partner with NIAAA and MediciNova to help move forward the testing of MN-166 as a novel treatment for alcoholism."