Inspire Pharmaceuticals has launched a Phase 2 clinical trial of a drug intended to combat complications following coronary artery bypass graft surgery during which a bypass pump is used.

The drug candidate, called INS50589 Antiplatelet, is intended to reduce postoperative bleeding and need for transfusions. It will be tested on some 160 subjects at 20 clinical centers in the United States.

“From a clinical perspective, the ability to prevent platelet activation and aggregation in a controlled manner during cardiac surgery holds the potential to preserve platelet function, re-establish postoperative coagulation and reduce postoperative bleeding,” said Mark Newman, chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at Duke University Medical Center and lead investigator of the trial.

Platelets are blood components that when activated help form blood clots. Platelet activation and post-operative platelet dysfunction can contribute to complications such as the need for blood transfusions, cognitive disorders, and pulmonary or renal dysfunction. Inspire said studies so far have shown INS50589 to inhibit platelet aggregation and to be reversible.