updated 3/3/2011 4:46:29 PM ET 2011-03-03T21:46:29

SAN DIEGO, March 3, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MediciNova Inc, a biopharmaceutical company publicly traded on the Nasdaq Global Market (Nasdaq:MNOV) and the Jasdaq Market of the Osaka Securities Exchange (4875) and Zhejiang Medicine Co., Ltd. traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (600216) today announced the signing of a letter of intent for the formation of a Joint Venture Company to develop and commercialize MediciNova's MN-221 in China.

"The formation of the Joint Venture Company with Zhejiang Medicine Co., Ltd. provides a unique opportunity to advance the development of MN-221 with a very successful Chinese pharmaceutical partner," said Yuichi Iwaki M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of MediciNova, Inc. Chunbo Li, Chairman of Zhejiang Medicine Co., Ltd., commented, "This JV can provide an enabling path for MN-221 as a promising therapeutic to become available to the millions of patients in China who suffer from acute bronchospasm. We are very pleased to be joining with MediciNova in providing better solutions for asthma patients"

About MN-221

MN-221 is a novel, highly selective, beta2-adrenergic receptor agonist in development as an intravenous treatment for acute exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations.  Preclinical testing in vitro and in vivo shows MN-221 to be more selective for the beta(2)-adrenergic receptor than other beta(2)-adrenergic receptor agonists commonly used for acute exacerbations of asthma. This improved selectivity, coupled with its partial agonist activity at beta(1)-adrenergic receptors, may yield bronchodilation without harmful cardiovascular side effects that are commonly observed with other agents.  MediciNova has completed several Phase I and 2a trials, and is currently conducting a Phase 2b study in patients with acute exacerbations of asthma.  MN-221 demonstrated significant improvements in FEV1 in all asthma trials as well as a 45% decrease in the hospitalization rate when added to current standard of care in a Phase 2a study of acute asthma patients in the emergency room.  MediciNova also completed a Phase 1b clinical study of MN-221 in patients with stable, moderate to severe COPD in which MN-221 demonstrated clinically significant improvements in FEV1 with no clinically relevant safety concerns. MediciNova acquired an exclusive, worldwide (excluding Japan), sublicensable license to MN-221 from Kissei Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. The intellectual property acquired from Kissei includes extensive preclinical and clinical safety data.

About MediciNova

MediciNova, Inc. is a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company founded upon acquiring and developing novel, small-molecule therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases with a commercial 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 on its two prioritized product candidates, MN-221 for the treatment of acute exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations and ibudilast (MN-166/AV411) for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, spinal cord injury, or drug addiction. Each drug candidate is involved in clinical development under U.S. and Investigator INDs and MediciNova is engaged in strategic partnering discussions to support further development of the MN-221 and ibudilast programs. Additionally, MediciNova will seek to monetize its other pipeline candidates. For more information on MediciNova, Inc., please visit www.medicinova.com.

The MediciNova, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3135

About Zhejiang Medicine Co., Ltd.

Zhejiang Medicine Co., Ltd. is a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in China and an important Vitamin products supplier in the world market. The company had reported sales of $628 million in 2009.  Zhejiang Medicine Co., Ltd. is committed to research and development of new pharmaceutical products for the Chinese market. In November 2008, Zhejiang Medicine Co., Ltd. became one of the six business incubators for new drugs who were certified by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the PRC. Zhejiang Medicine Co., Ltd. is poised to become a leader in the emerging pharmaceutical development industry in China.

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, 2009 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.

CONTACT: MediciNova, Inc.
         Mark Johnson, Investor Relations
         (858) 373-1500
         info@medicinova.com

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