BARDA and MediciNova, Inc. partner to repurpose MN-166 (ibudilast) as a medical countermeasure against chlorine exposure


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During a chemical emergency, the ability to use commonly available medical countermeasures (MCM) can help save lives and enable a rapid response. BARDA and MediciNova, Inc. have partnered to repurpose MN-166 (ibudilast) for potential use against acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and acute lung injury associated with chlorine exposure. Repurposing MN-166 as an MCM for treatment after either accidental or intentional exposure to chlorine could help to improve patient health outcomes and save lives following exposure. Under the Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures (DRIVe) program, Repurposing Drugs in Response to Chemical Threats (ReDIRECT), BARDA will provide funding for proof-of-concept studies of MN-166 in preclinical models of chlorine-associated lung injury.

MN-166 is a selective inhibitor of phosphodiesterase-4 and other inflammatory cytokines, including macrophage migration inhibitory factor. The anti-inflammatory effects of MN-166 and its reduction of pulmonary edema (swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in the body’s tissues) in preclinical ARDS mouse model studies present a compelling case for further investigation in models of chlorine-induced lung injury. MN-166 is the first compound to receive BARDA’s development support through DRIVe’s ReDIRECT program.

The therapeutic is approved in Japan for the treatment of asthma and post-stroke complications. MediciNova is independently investigating it in the U.S. for COVID-19 patients that are at a high risk of developing ARDS. MN-166 has been evaluated in more than 21 ongoing or completed clinical trials under MediciNova’s management.

Drug repurposing evaluates new uses, outside of the original clinical indication, for therapeutics that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or that are in late-stage development. Repurposing MN-166 as an MCM for treatment after either accidental or intentional exposure to chlorine could help to improve patient health outcomes and save lives following exposure.

This award is just one component of BARDA’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) medical countermeasures and DRIVe’s medical countermeasures portfolios. Visit DRIVe’s ReDIRECT program to learn more.

About MediciNova, Inc.:

The following information is provided by the company and does not indicate endorsement by the federal government of the company or its products.

MediciNova is a publicly traded biopharmaceutical dedicated to repurposing and developing safe pharmacotherapies for the treatment of diseases for which there is a large, unmet medical need. One compound in our portfolio, MN-166, is being developed for oral and injectable formulations for ALS, progressive multiple sclerosis, glioblastoma, substance abuse, and prevention of ARDS associated with COVID-19. MN-166 was granted Fast-track and/or Orphan-drug designation by FDA and EMA for most of these indications and is being evaluated in clinical studies in the U.S. and abroad at academic and research institutions including Columbia University, UCLA, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, MGH Harvard University, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Yale University, Oregon Health & Science University, University of Sydney (AU), and University of Cambridge (UK).

Last Updated: March 09, 2021

CBRN Portfolio

The CBRN investments support advanced research and development and national security procurement of medical countermeasures to addresses national security threats. This award is one component of BARDA's CBRN medical countermeasure portfolio; visit the CBRN Portfolio to learn more.

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