MediciNova flops in PhII methamphetamine dependence trial, stock slips

San Diego drugmaker MediciNova has flunked a mid-stage trial testing its lead drug candidate against methamphetamine dependence, sending the company’s stock quickly south in pre-market trading.

Yuichi Iwaki

The company announced Thursday that its Phase II clinical trial assessing MN-166, a drug called ibudilast, failed to achieve the study’s primary endpoint: methamphetamine abstinence during the last weeks of treatment.

MediciNova is hoping to get a lot out of ibudilast, testing the drug in multiple neurodegenerative and substance dependence indications, including MS, ALS, and opioid dependence. The drug has been around for a long time treating post-stroke complications and bronchial asthma, and has been on sold in Japan and Korea since 1989. MediciNova says ibudlilast’s anti-neuroinflammatory and neuroprotective actions back up the company’s reasoning for the drug’s use in neurodegenerative disorders and substance abuse. In addition to this flopped methamphetamine dependence trial, MediciNova has five other ongoing Phase II trials of the drug.

MediciNova’s stock $MNOV was down 15% in premarket trading as of press time, trading for $10.17 per share.

MediciNova’s president and CEO Yuichi Iwaki had this to say in a statement:

We will conduct further analyses of the data with UCLA researchers, which will help us to better understand how to optimize study design and setting for any future clinical trials in substance dependence.  We will discuss the results with NIH/NIDA, who provided the funding for this trial, the opioid dependence trials and the alcohol dependence trial.  We plan to meet with FDA after we have data from the ongoing study of MN-166 in methamphetamine use disorder at Oregon Health & Science University.

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