AstraZeneca has announced positive results from a Phase II trial to examine the efficacy of ticagrelor (Brilinta) versus clopidogrel (Plavix) in reducing cardiovascular illnesses.

A head-to-head Phase III trial study of platelet inhibition and patient outcomes (PLATO) demonstrated that ticagrelor significantly reduced cardiovascular deaths and heart attacks in patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) compared to clopidogrel.

During the trial, in patients treated with ticagrelor the reduction of risk from cardiovascular events occurred earlier than patients treated with clopidogrel, and this benefit increased over time.

AstraZeneca executive vice-president of development Anders Ekblom said that the PLATO data suggests ticagrelor could be a valuable new option for a broad range of ACS patients.

“The PLATO study was designed to reflect how patients with ACS are managed in clinical practice, including patients who underwent invasive procedures and those who were managed with medication only,” Ekblom said.

The PLATO study confirmed the clinical safety profile of previous ticagrelor studies, which showed no difference in major bleeding compared to clopidogrel.

Based on the results AstraZeneca has indicated it plans a new drug application for the treatment during the fourth quarter of 2009.