AstraZeneca says its new anti-clotting drug better than Plavix

British drug maker AstraZeneca yetsterday said that results from a new study on the phase III head to head trial, PLATO (A Study of Platelet Inhibition and Patient Outcomes), showed that its anti-clotting drug, ticagrelor (Brilinta) achieved greater efficacy than clopidogrel (Plavix) without an increase in major bleeding, in preventing new heart attacks and in reducing deaths among patients who have had a heart attacks.

Clopidogrel is made by Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb, under the brand Plavix, which had sales of $9 billion last year.

Plavix faces competition from Eli Lilly and Daiichi Sankyo's recently launched Effient, which is said to have outperformed Plavix in tests.

AstraZeneca says ticagrelor is the first investigational antiplatelet that has demonstrated a reduction in cardiovascular death versus clopidogrel or Plavix in patients with acute coronary syndromes.

The results of the study were presented at the European Society of Cardiology in Barcelona, Spain on Sunday and were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

According to primary results from the PLATO study, 18,624 patients were randomly assigned to ticagrelor or clopidogrel. Both drugs prevented blood clotting, which could lead to another heart attack.