LA JOLLA, Calif., Dec. 16, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MediciNova, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company traded on the NASDAQ Global Market (NASDAQ:MNOV) and the JASDAQ Market of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (Code Number:4875), today announced that it has received Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for MN-166 (ibudilast) for the treatment of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Fast Track is a process designed to facilitate the development and expedite the review of drugs that are intended to treat serious or life-threatening diseases and demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs for such diseases. An important feature of the FDA's Fast Track program is that it emphasizes frequent communication between the FDA and the sponsor throughout the entire drug development and review process to improve the efficiency of product development. Accordingly, Fast Track status can potentially lead to a shortened timeline to ultimate drug approval.
Yuichi Iwaki, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of MediciNova, Inc., commented, "We are very pleased that MN-166 has received Fast Track Designation for ALS and believe this validates its potential to address unmet medical needs in this life-threatening disease. We look forward to providing further updates as our development program progresses."
About Fast Track Designation
According to the FDA, in order to be granted Fast Track designation, a drug must (1) be intended for the treatment of a serious or life-threatening disease or condition; and (2) demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs for the disease or condition.
A drug that receives Fast Track designation may be eligible for:
- More frequent meetings with the FDA to discuss the drug's development plan and ensure collection of appropriate data needed to support drug approval;
- Accelerated Approval, i.e., approval based on an effect on a surrogate, or substitute endpoint reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit, or on a clinical endpoint that can be measured earlier than irreversible morbidity or mortality;
- Priority Review, with an FDA goal for completing review within six months of submission; and
- Rolling Review, which means that a sponsor can submit completed sections of its New Drug Application (NDA) for review by the FDA, rather than waiting until every section of the application is completed before the entire application can be reviewed.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The nerves lose the ability to trigger specific muscles, which causes the muscles to become weak. As a result, ALS affects voluntary movement and patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. Life expectancy of an ALS patient is usually 2-5 years. According to the ALS Association, there are approximately 30,000 ALS patients in the U.S. and approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. Riluzole is the only pharmaceutical treatment approved for ALS, but it has limited efficacy.
About MN-166 (ibudilast)
MN-166 (ibudilast) has been marketed in Japan and Korea since 1989 to treat post-stroke complications and bronchial asthma. MediciNova licensed MN-166 (ibudilast) from Kyorin Pharmaceutical for potential utility in relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Intellectual property was additionally established or obtained by MediciNova in progressive MS and other neurological conditions. MN-166 (ibudilast) is a first-in-class, orally bioavailable, small molecule phosphodiesterase (PDE) -4 and -10 inhibitor and a macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) inhibitor that suppresses pro-inflammatory cytokines and promotes neurotrophic factors. It attenuates activated glia cells, which play a major role in certain neurological conditions. Ibudilast's anti-neuroinflammatory and neuroprotective actions have been demonstrated in preclinical and clinical study results and provide the rationale for its therapeutic utility in neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., progressive MS and ALS), substance abuse/addiction and chronic neuropathic pain.
MediciNova, Inc. is a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company founded upon acquiring and developing novel, small-molecule therapeutics for the treatment of diseases with unmet medical needs with a commercial focus on the U.S. market. MediciNova's current strategy is to focus on MN-166 (ibudilast) for neurological disorders such as progressive MS, ALS and substance dependence (e.g., methamphetamine dependence, opioid dependence) and MN-001 (tipelukast) for fibrotic diseases such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). MediciNova’s pipeline also includes MN-221 (bedoradrine) for the treatment of acute exacerbations of asthma and MN-029 (denibulin) for solid tumor cancers. MediciNova is engaged in strategic partnering and other potential funding discussions to support further development of its programs. For more information on MediciNova, Inc., please visit www.medicinova.com.
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 the future development and efficacy of MN-166, MN-221, MN-001, and MN-029. 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," “considering,” “planning” 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, risks of obtaining future partner or grant funding for development of MN-166, MN-221, MN-001, and MN-029 and risks of raising sufficient capital when needed to fund MediciNova's operations and contribution to clinical development, risks and uncertainties inherent in clinical trials, including the potential cost, expected timing and risks associated with clinical trials designed to meet FDA guidance and the viability of further development considering these factors, product development and commercialization risks, 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, risks associated with the reliance on third parties to sponsor and fund clinical trials, risks regarding intellectual property rights in product candidates and the ability to defend and enforce such intellectual property rights, 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 of expected filings with the regulatory authorities, MediciNova's collaborations with third parties, the availability of funds to complete product development plans and MediciNova's ability to obtain third party funding for programs and raise sufficient capital when needed, 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, 2014 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.