MediciNova Appoints Dr. Kirk Johnson Chief Scientific Officer

MediciNova Appoints Dr. Kirk Johnson Chief Scientific Officer
SAN DIEGO, Feb 1, 2010 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- MediciNova, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that is publicly traded on the Nasdaq Global Market (Nasdaq:MNOV) and the Hercules Market of the Osaka Securities Exchange (Code Number:4875), today announced that Kirk Johnson, Ph.D. has joined MediciNova as its Chief Scientific Officer, reporting directly to Dr. Yuichi Iwaki, MediciNova's President and Chief Executive Officer.
Commenting on Dr. Johnson's employment, Dr. Iwaki said, "I am pleased to announce Kirk's appointment and welcome him to the MediciNova executive management team. Kirk's extensive leadership experience in biopharmaceutical companies and his unique knowledge of our MN-166 (ibudilast) development program make him a valuable asset to our company."

Dr. Johnson was Vice President, Research and Development at Avigen through the close of the merger with MediciNova in December 2009. Prior to joining Avigen in early 2004, he was Senior Director, Pharmacology and Preclinical Development and a member of the executive management team of Genesoft Pharmaceuticals. From 1991 through 2001, Dr. Johnson was employed in both protein and small molecule therapeutic R&D at Chiron Corporation and eventually served as Director, Pharmacology and Preclinical Research. Aside from general pharmacology/toxicity and other development responsibilities, he has led research and clinical development projects for diverse indications including neuropathic pain, hemophilia, antibacterials, diabetes, obesity, acute inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Johnson has contributed to successful IND, foreign ethics committee, and NDA filings at his prior companies. His academic training includes a B.S. in toxicology from the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology from the Medical College of Virginia. He did postdoctoral fellowships studying the mechanism of action of IL-2 with Dr. Kendall Smith at Dartmouth Medical School and with Dr. Marian Koshland at the University of California, Berkeley. He has published approximately 65 manuscripts and has over a dozen issued U.S. patents.

About MediciNova

MediciNova, Inc. is a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company focused on acquiring and developing novel, small-molecule therapeutics for the treatment of diseases with unmet need with a specific focus on the U.S. market. Through strategic alliances primarily with Japanese pharmaceutical companies, MediciNova holds rights to a diversified portfolio of clinical and preclinical product candidates, each of which MediciNova believes has a well-characterized and differentiated therapeutic profile, attractive commercial potential and patent assets having claims of commercially adequate scope. MediciNova's pipeline includes six clinical-stage compounds for the treatment of acute exacerbations of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations, multiple sclerosis and other neurologic conditions, asthma, interstitial cystitis, solid tumor cancers, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, preterm labor and urinary incontinence and two preclinical-stage compounds for the treatment of thrombotic disorders. MediciNova's current strategy is to focus its resources on its two prioritized product candidates, MN-221 for the treatment of acute exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations and MN-166 for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other neurologic conditions, and either pursue development independently in the United States, in the case of MN-221, or establish a strategic collaboration to support further development, in the case of MN-166. MediciNova will seek to monetize its other product candidates. For more information on MediciNova, Inc., please visit

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Statements in this press release that are not historical in nature constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements regarding MediciNova's clinical trials supporting safety and efficacy of product candidates and the potential novelty of such product candidates as treatments for disease, plans and objectives for present and future clinical trials and product development, strategies, future performance, expectations, assumptions, financial condition, liquidity and capital resources. These forward-looking statements may be preceded by, followed by or otherwise include the words "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "intends," "estimates," "projects," "can," "could," "may," "will," "would," or similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, include, but are not limited to, the risks and uncertainties inherent in clinical trials and product development and commercialization, such as the uncertainty in results of clinical trials for product candidates, the uncertainty of whether the results of clinical trials will be predictive of results in later stages of product development, the risk of delays or failure to obtain or maintain regulatory approval, the risk of failure of the third parties upon whom MediciNova relies to conduct its clinical trials and manufacture its product candidates to perform as expected, the risk of increased cost and delays due to delays in the commencement, enrollment, completion or analysis of clinical trials or significant issues regarding the adequacy of clinical trial designs or the execution of clinical trials and the timing, cost and design of future clinical trials and research activities, the timing of expected filings with the FDA, MediciNova's failure to execute strategic plans or strategies successfully, MediciNova's collaborations with third parties, MediciNova's ability to realize the anticipated strategic and financial benefits from its acquisition of Avigen, Inc., to integrate the two ibudilast development programs and to pursue discussions with potential partners to secure a strategic collaboration to advance the clinical development of the combined development program, the availability of funds to complete product development plans and MediciNova's ability to raise sufficient capital when needed, intellectual property or contract rights, and the other risks and uncertainties described in MediciNova's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008 and its subsequent periodic reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K. Undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. MediciNova disclaims any intent or obligation to revise or update these forward-looking statements.

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SOURCE: MediciNova, Inc.

CONTACT:  MediciNova, Inc.
Shintaro Asako, Chief Financial Officer
(858) 373-1500
[email protected]