MediciNova (MNOV) Stock Rockets On Ibudilast Data

MediciNova, Inc. (NASDAQ: MNOV) is screaming for the top in the market this morning, gaining more than 30% before the bell after announcing the publication of positive results from a Phase 2 alcohol use disorder (AUD) clinical trial. 

Here’s the scoop:

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MNOV Heads Up On Data Publication

In the press release, MediciNova said that positive results from its Phase 2 trial of MN-166 in patients with AUD have been published in Nature’s peer reviewed journal, Translational Psychiatry. 

MNOV went on to remind investors that the trial was a collaborative effort between the company and Dr. Lara Ray, Professor of the Department of Psychology and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Brain Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Moreover, the study was founded by the Center for Study of Opioid Receptors and Drugs of Abuse (CSORDA). 

The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 trial designed to evaluate the effect of 14 days of ibudilast treatment on mood, heavy drinking, and neural reward signals in individuals with AUD. 

MNOV said 52 patients were included in the trial, which produced promising results. 

In fact, there were no significant effects on negative mood while a reduction in odds of heavy drinking across the time of the study of 45% was achieved. Moreover, Ibudilast treatment attenuated alcohol cue-elicited activation in the ventral striatum compared to placebo. 

The treatment also reduced alcohol craving compared to placebo on non-drinking days. 

Management Commentary

In a statement, Kazuko Matsuda, MD, PhD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer at MNOV, had the following to offer:

We are very pleased that the results from this Phase 2 trial in alcohol use disorder have been published. We are excited that MN-166 reduced the odds of heavy drinking by 45% after only 14 days of treatment. Our first clinical trial demonstrated that ibudilast significantly reduced basal, daily alcohol craving in AUD patients. We are thrilled that MN-166 has demonstrated great potential to reduce the increasing problem of alcohol use disorder.

The above statement was followed up by Professor Lara Ray with:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainty, unemployment, and isolation were factors that increased anxiety and stress, and led to new cases of alcohol misuse and AUD. Our findings from this Phase 2 clinical trial─ibudilast improved drinking outcomes and reduced the rewarding response to alcohol in brains of individuals with AUD─are timely and very encouraging for the treatment of AUD.

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The Bottom Line

AUD is a massive indication that has received little attention from competitors. As a result, should Ibudilast continue to produce positive results, and make it to market, it could quickly become a blockbuster in this multi-billion dollar space. 

With MediciNova producing such positive results from the Phase 2 study, it only makes sense that Phase 3 is on the horizon, setting the stage for multiple catalysts ahead. 

All in all, if you’re not paying attention to MNOV stock yet, you’re missing out!

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