MediciNova Announces Partnership with BARDA to Develop MN-166 (ibudilast) as a Medical Countermeasure Against Chlorine Gas-induced Lung Injury

MediciNova, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, today announced it has partnered with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to repurpose MN-166 (ibudilast) as a potential medical countermeasure (MCM) against chlorine gas-induced lung damage such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and acute lung injury (ALI). Under the Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures’ (DRIVe) Repurposing Drugs in Response to Chemical Threats (ReDIRECT) program, BARDA will provide funding for proof-of-concept studies of MN-166 in preclinical models of chlorine gas-induced acute lung injury. MN-166 is the first compound to receive BARDA’s development support through the DRIVe ReDIRECT program.

Kazuko Matsuda, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., Chief Medical Officer of MediciNova, Inc., commented, “On behalf of the entire MediciNova team, we are grateful for the opportunity to partner with BARDA in an effort to repurpose MN-166 as a rapidly administered treatment for patients exposed to chemical agents such as chlorine. MN-166 attenuated histological changes observed in an ARDS animal model, including pulmonary edema in lung tissue, and protected against pulmonary injury by reducing cellular apoptosis in lung tissue. Considering that pulmonary edema is a hallmark feature of exposure to chlorine, MN-166 has the potential to improve health outcomes and save lives. To date, more than 800 research participants have been treated with high-dose MN-166 in MediciNova’s clinical trials. MN-166 has shown a benign safety and tolerability profile.”

This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response; Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, under Contract No. 75A50121C00022.

About MN-166
MN-166 is a small molecule compound that inhibits phosphodiesterase type-4 (PDE4) and inflammatory cytokines, including macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF). It is in late-stage clinical development for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), progressive MS (multiple sclerosis), and DCM (degenerative cervical myelopathy), and also for glioblastoma, CIPN (chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy), and substance use disorder. In addition, MN-166 is being evaluated in patients with COVID-19 that are at risk for developing ARDS.

BARDA established the ReDIRECT project to repurpose commonly available therapeutics as MCMs against chemical threats (e.g., cyanide, opioids, nerve agents, chlorine, sulfur mustard, etc.). During a chemical emergency, minutes matter and a rapid response is necessary to save lives and reduce the incidence of adverse health effects. Drug repurposing is a strategy that is used to identify new uses for FDA approved or late-stage investigational therapeutics outside of their original clinical indication. The identification of existing and commonly available therapeutics for repurposing as MCMs holds the potential to expand current response capabilities to chemical threats and strengthen the United States’ preparedness posture.

About MediciNova 
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 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

Our Current Sponsors