LA JOLLA, Calif., Nov. 25, 2020 (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 positive Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) results from the SPRINT-MS Phase 2b trial of MN-166 (ibudilast) in progressive multiple sclerosis (progressive MS) were published in Multiple Sclerosis Journal. OCT was a secondary outcome measure in the SPRINT-MS trial.
The publication, entitled “Optical coherence tomography outcomes from SPRINT-MS, a multicenter, randomized, double-blind trial of ibudilast in progressive multiple sclerosis”, is a report of the OCT results of the SPRINT-MS trial. The authors include Robert A. Bermel and Robert J. Fox, both from the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research at the Cleveland Clinic, and several others. The authors conclude that retinal thinning in MS may be attenuated by MN-166 (ibudilast) and that sample size estimates suggest OCT can be a viable outcome measure in progressive MS trials if a therapy has a large treatment effect.
Of the 28 sites participating in the SPRINT-MS trial, 22 sites used Zeiss Cirrus OCT and 6 sites used Heidelberg Spectralis OCT. This resulted in 183 participants imaged with Cirrus and 61 participants imaged with Spectralis.
All OCT measures showed less loss of retinal tissue for MN-166 (ibudilast) compared to placebo. Key results reported in the publication include the following:
- Change in pRNFL (peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer) thickness was +0.0424 uM/year for MN166 (ibudilast) versus −0.2630 uM/year for placebo (n = 244, p = 0.22).
- Macular volume change was −0.00503 mm3/year for MN-166 (ibudilast) versus −0.03659 mm3/year for placebo in the Spectralis cohort (n = 61, p = 0.044).
- For the Cirrus cohort, macular volume change was −0.00040 mm3/year for MN-166 (ibudilast) compared to −0.02083 mm3/year for placebo (n = 183, p = 0.1734).
- Ganglion cell-inner plexiform (GCIP) layer thickness change, available from Cirrus, was −0.4893 uM/year for MN-166 (ibudilast) versus −0.9587 uM/year for placebo (n = 183, p = 0.12).
Yuichi Iwaki, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of MediciNova, Inc. commented, “We are very pleased that the positive OCT data has been published. This data demonstrates that MN-166 can reduce retinal thinning in progressive MS patients and is further evidence of its neuroprotective effect as retinal thinning is associated with brain volume loss and other measures of MS progression.”
About the Progressive MS Trial
The Phase 2b Secondary and Primary Progressive Ibudilast NeuroNEXT trial in Multiple Sclerosis (SPRINT-MS) included 28 enrolling clinical sites across the U.S. and was designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability and activity of MN-166 (ibudilast) administered orally twice daily to subjects with primary progressive or secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS or SPMS, respectively). 255 qualifying subjects were randomly assigned 1:1 to inactive control (placebo) or MN-166 (ibudilast) administered at a dose of up to 100 mg/day (50 mg twice daily). The progressive MS subjects were either untreated with long-term disease modifying therapy (DMT) or continued on either glatiramer acetate (GA) or interferon beta (IFNβ-1a or IFNβ-1b) treatment. Hence, randomization was controlled (stratified) by two factors: therapy status (IFN/GA vs. no DMT) and disease status (PPMS vs. SPMS). The primary objectives of the study were to 1) evaluate the activity of ibudilast (MN-166) versus placebo at 96 weeks as measured by quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) analysis for whole brain atrophy using brain parenchymal fraction (BPF), and 2) evaluate the safety and tolerability of ibudilast (MN-166) versus placebo in subjects with PPMS or SPMS. Additional measures included disability, imaging analyses of brain and retinal tissue integrity, cortical atrophy, cognitive impairment, quality-of-life and neuropathic pain. Exploratory objectives included pharmacokinetic and biomarker analyses.
About the Cooperative Effort
The collaborating entities included NeuroNEXT, the Cleveland Clinic, the National MS Society and MediciNova. NINDS's Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials, or NeuroNEXT, was created to conduct studies of treatments for neurological diseases through partnerships with academia, private foundations and industry. NeuroNEXT sites include many of the leading medical centers in the U.S. (www.neuronext.org). The goals of NeuroNEXT include testing of promising neurological therapies in Phase 2 clinical trials, optimizing drug development time and cost components through an established clinical trials infrastructure, and the coordination of public/private sector efforts by leveraging NINDS’s existing relationships with academic investigators and patient advocacy groups. A clinical coordinating center for NeuroNEXT was led by Dr. Merit Cudkowicz and was based at Massachusetts General Hospital and the data coordinating center was led by Dr. Chris Coffey at the University of Iowa. Principal Investigator Dr. Robert Fox and colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic collaborated with co-investigators at academic medical centers in the NeuroNEXT network. The National MS Society provided patient advocate input, trial enrollment awareness, and additional funding. MediciNova holds the trial IND with the FDA’s Division of Neurology Products and provided scientific and analytical support, as well as drug and placebo supply.
About Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
According to the National MS Society, MS affects approximately 2.3 million people worldwide. Approximately 85% of MS patients are initially diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS (RRMS). Many RRMS patients will eventually transition into secondary progressive MS (SPMS) in which there are fewer or no relapses but gradual worsening of neurologic function. Approximately 15% of MS patients are diagnosed with primary progressive MS (PPMS) at onset and exhibit gradually increasing disability in walking, vision, mental acuity, and other bodily functions without experiencing relapses or remissions. Current therapies for MS affect the inflammatory response, but provide limited benefit for the neurodegeneration seen in progressive MS. There is a significant unmet medical need for agents that may provide neuroprotection in progressive MS.
About MN-166 (ibudilast)
MN-166 (ibudilast) is a first-in-class, orally bioavailable, small molecule macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) inhibitor and phosphodiesterase (PDE) -4 and -10 inhibitor that suppresses pro-inflammatory cytokines and promotes neurotrophic factors. Our earlier human studies demonstrated significant reductions of serum MIF level after treatment with MN-166 (ibudilast). It also attenuates activated glial cells, which play a major role in certain neurological conditions. MN-166 (ibudilast)'s anti-neuroinflammatory and neuroprotective actions have been demonstrated in preclinical and clinical studies, which provide the rationale for treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological diseases such as glioblastoma (GBM), and substance abuse/addiction. MediciNova is developing MN-166 for ALS, progressive MS and other neurological conditions such as degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM), glioblastoma, substance abuse/addiction, and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, as well as prevention of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by COVID-19. MediciNova has a portfolio of patents which covers the use of MN-166 (ibudilast) to treat various diseases including ALS, progressive MS, and drug addiction.
MediciNova, Inc. is a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company founded upon developing novel, small-molecule therapeutics for the treatment of diseases with unmet medical needs with a primary commercial focus on the U.S. market. MediciNova's current strategy is to focus on BC-PIV SARS-COV-2 vaccine for COVID-19, MN-166 (ibudilast) for neurological disorders such as progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM), substance dependence (e.g., alcohol use disorder, methamphetamine dependence, opioid dependence) and glioblastoma (GBM), as well as prevention of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by COVID-19, 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) and MN-029 (denibulin). 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 BC-PIV SARS-COV-2 vaccine, MN-166, MN-001, MN-221, 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 BC-PIV SARS-COV-2 vaccine, MN-166, MN-001, MN-221, 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, 2019 and its subsequent periodic reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 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.