Brilinta (ticagrelor) is approved for the treatment of acute coronary syndromes and prevention of further coronary events in patients at high-risk following a heart attack.

The Phase III THALES trial is designed to assess the safety and efficacy of 30-day treatment with the drug versus placebo, on a background therapy of aspirin, for reducing recurrent stroke and death in patients who suffered an acute ischaemic stroke or high-risk transient ischaemic attack in the previous 24 hours.

“With so many potentially avoidable strokes occurring in high risk patients already on standard of care, this new trial for ticagrelor is extremely significant,” said lead study investigator Dr Clay Johnston, dean of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas.

“Around the world, there are more than five million ischaemic strokes every year, the impact of which can be truly life-changing. I can think of few areas of medicine where the need for effective new treatments is greater, with the potential to transform outcomes for patients, their families and healthcare systems as a whole.”

The THALES trial is part of PARTHENON, AZ’cardiovascular (CV) clinical outcomes programme involving patients at high risk of CV events.

Brilinta/Brilique is a direct-acting P2Y12 receptor antagonist that works by inhibiting platelet activation.

Back in 2016, the drug failed to significantly increase the time to first occurrence of stroke, myocardial infarction or death when pitted directly against aspirin in patients with acute ischaemic stroke or transient ischaemic attack.

While fewer events were observed on Brilinta/Brilique (ticagrelor) versus aspirin arm in the overall SOCRATES trial population, the trend did not reach statistical significance.