Drug giant AstraZeneca has announced plans to carry out a clinical trial pitting its blood thinner Brilinta (ticagrelor) against clopidogrel in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD).

The drugmaker said that the global, randomised, parrallel group EUCLID trial is designed to assess the safety and efficacy of Brilinta compared with clopidogrel in reducing the primary endpoint - a composite of cardiovascular (CV) death, myocardial infarction or ischaemic stroke - in 11,500 patients with PAD (narrowed arteries in the legs).

"The EUCLID study is an exciting clinical trial, as it may provide further clinical evidence regarding the role oral antiplatelets can play in reducing risk for patients with PAD," said William Hiatt, Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of Colorado School of Medicine. 

Brilinta is currently only approved to prevent CV events in patients with Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS), so an extra indication in the PAD setting would expand its scope considerably, given that there are around 27 million people in Europe and North America with the condition. 

"Despite therapeutic advances, CV disease remains the number one cause of death worldwide," said Judith Hsia, Executive Director Clinical Research, AstraZeneca. "The benefit of ticagrelor on CV thrombotic events, including CV mortality, observed in patients who have had an ACS event supports continued study in other areas of cardiovascular disease," she added, explaining the basis for the new trial.

The EUCLID study is part of the AstraZeneca-funded PARTHENON programme, a long-term and evolving global research initiative - including more than 51,000 patients - that aims to take a closer look at atherothrombotic disease and investigate the impact of ticagrelor on reducing CV events and death.