West Coast Editor

On the heels of raising $44 million in a Series C Round, MediciNova Inc. filed with the SEC to raise $100 million in an initial public offering in Japan, where it was founded four years ago as a subsidiary of Tanabe Seiyaku Co. Ltd., of Osaka.

San Diego-based MediciNova was in an SEC-imposed quiet period, but said in its filing that it intends to "use the majority of the net proceeds of this offering to continue the development and prepare for the commercialization of the product candidates in our core programs," as well as for working capital and general purposes.

Neither a number of shares to be traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, nor a cost per share was included in the filing.

In the pipeline, MediciNova, which is focused on the urology and obstetrics/gynecology markets, has MN-221 for premature labor. It plans to file an investigational new drug application for the product and begin Phase II trials in the first half of next year.

MediciNova acquired worldwide rights except for Japan to MN-221 from Kissei Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Tokyo. The drug is described as a "highly selective" b2-adrenoreceptor agonist. Because of its selectivity, the company said, MN-221 produces minimal effects on heart rate compared to other less selective b2-agonists that have been used to treat premature labor, such as terbutaline and ritodrine.

Also bound for Phase II trials by the end of the first quarter of next year is MN-001, for interstitial cystitis. The oral drug is an anti-inflammatory compound acquired from Kyorin Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., also of Tokyo. MN-001 and its primary metabolite, MN-002, block leukotriene (LT) receptors and inhibit phosphodiesterase (PDE) 4.

Oral MN-001 also is entering Phase II studies against asthma. Its mechanisms of actions include inhibiting of eosinophil migration, along with LT antagonism and PDE blocking. Other LT antagonists already on the market are montelukast (Singulair, Merck & Co. Inc.) and zafirlukast (Accolate, AstraZeneca plc), but apparently they are effective in only a subpopulation of asthmatics, MediciNova said.

MN-305, a 5-HT1A receptor agonist for generalized anxiety disorder, is expected to enter Phase II trials in the second half of next year. MediciNova bought the rights to that compound from yet another Tokyo-based firm, Mitsubishi Pharma Corp., for global markets other than Japan, China and Southeast Asia.

MN-029, a vascular targeting agent for solid tumors, is in Phase I trials. That drug was acquired in July 2002, as part of a series of similar compounds from Angiogene Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Oxford, UK.

In September, after raising $44 million in the Series C, MediciNova said the cash was enough to operate the company for about two years. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 7, 2004.)

Daiwa Securities SMBC, of Tokyo, is managing the IPO.

No Comments