The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and MediciNova, Inc. seek to use a new partnership to repurpose the anti-inflammatory MN-166, better known as ibudilast, for use against acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and chlorine exposure.
Traditionally, ibudilast has been used primarily in Japan for the treatment of asthma and post-stroke complications. It selectively inhibits phosphodiesterase-4 and other inflammatory cytokines. These effects have the attention of the partners, particularly for its reduction of pulmonary edema in preclinical ARDS mouse model studies. Such effects could prove useful for chlorine-damaged lungs.
BARDA will provide funding for proof-of-concept studies of ibudilast in preclinical models of chlorine-associated lung injury through its Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures (DRIVe), Repurposing Drugs in Response to Chemical Threats (ReDIRECT) program. It marks the first compound to receive developmental support through that program.
MediciNova has evaluated or is evaluating the therapeutic in more than 21 trials. Separately, the company is also investigating ibudilast for use on COVID-19 patients at risk of developing ARDS.