Ibudilast (also known as MN-166)

Experimental Medications: Administered Orally

Company: MediciNova

  • Oral medication being studied at up to 100 mg (50 mg twice daily)
  • Being studied in RMS

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An upcoming Phase III clinical trial will examine whether ibudilast effectively slows disease progression in more-severe, non-relapsing MS. Ibudilast is a small molecule (specifically, a macrophage migration inhibitory factor [MIF] inhibitor and phosphodiesterase [PDE] -4 and -10 inhibitor) that suppresses pro-inflammatory molecules and promotes nerve-growth factors.69

In a Phase IIb trial, this oral medication, also known as MN-166, slowed brain-volume loss and reduced the risk of confirmed disability progression (CDP) by 46% relative to placebo among individuals with secondary-progressive MS (SPMS).69, 2

Ibudilast suppresses the pro-inflammatory cytokines that can cause neurologic damage in MS and supports the nurturing of nerve cells. It also prevents glial cells, which help regenerate the protective myelin sheath around nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, from becoming overactive and triggering inflammation that can damage myelin.69, 2For the Phase III trial, researchers will measure time to CDP across three months, a marker of long-term disability in MS, as measured with the Expanded Disability Status Scale.69

Meanwhile, MediciNova, the biopharmaceutical company developing ibudilast, announced in April 2020 that it will also study the medication for use in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by COVID-19.2