Japan’s Kissei Pharmaceutical said it will pay MediciNova $2.5m to support further clinical development of MN-221 for the treatment of acute exacerbations of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

MN-221 is a novel, highly selective, beta(2)-adrenergic receptor agonist.

MediciNova has completed previous Phase 1 and 2a trials and is currently conducting a Phase 2b study in patients with acute exacerbations of asthma in the US.

In the Phase 1b clinical study, MN-221 demonstrated improvements in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) with no clinically relevant safety concerns in patients with stable, moderate to severe COPD.

In all the asthma trials, MN-221 demonstrated improvements in FEV1 as well as a 45% decrease in hospitalisation rate.

Under the terms of the 2004 license agreement, MediciNova and Kissei share all data and associated know-how of the MN-221 development programme.