Antica's latest film, “The Stroke Doc”, uncovers the high-stakes world of medical drug trials

February 24, 2022 – A sudden stroke is like a brush fire in the brain, burning over a million neurons per minute. Without intervention, it causes debilitating neurological damage and, in some cases, death. Medical researchers have known for a long time that a drug that can lessen or prevent the damage done by strokes could save countless lives, be worth a fortune, and might even win a Nobel Prize. But though many have created drugs they think are effective, human testing proved impossible.

But renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Mike Tymianski believes that he has not only created an effective stroke drug, but may have also figured out how to test it on stroke patients, something that proved elusive for so many previous researchers.

The Stroke Doc is the story of one stubborn doctor and his little drug company that could. Over a decade ago, Tymianski and his team of researchers discovered a drug they called Nerinetide (NA-1), a small protein that seemed to help the brain ‘hold its breath’ during a stroke, thus preventing the worst of the damage. The documentary follows Tymianski and his colleagues as they test their discovery on human stroke patients, a process which took nearly ten years of trial and error, stops and starts, pivots and perfections, losses and gains. The final stages of these trials turn into an ongoing test not only of Tymianski’s brave patients (and his own patience), but of his very commitment to solving this global dilemma that has touched millions of lives. 

“So much of modern life is made possible by the power of modern medicine and drugs, but we rarely get to see exactly how that happens,” says director and executive producer Stuart Coxe. “And here we were, finally getting to see how a drug is developed …. it was just absolutely fascinating.”

Produced by Antica Productions with support from the TELUS Fund, The Stroke Doc is a high-stakes medical drama that takes place in the back of screaming ambulances, in hospital corridors and emergency wards around the world, taking us from Muskoka to Manila, where success is measured by nearly imperceptible changes on an MRI, scrutinized in the middle of the night. And where failure could mean the loss of decades of research and tens of millions of dollars. Is Dr. Tymianski’s drug just another in a long line of failed stroke drugs? Or is he actually on the cusp of the biggest Canadian medical innovation since the discovery of insulin, and maybe a Nobel Prize?

The Stroke Doc premieres on March 1, 2022 at 9pm ET (6pm PT) on CBC Documentary Channel, and repeats March 2, 2022 at 12 am ET (9pm PT) and 3am ET (12am PT).

For more information on the film, and to watch the trailer, visit For press inquiries, contact Stuart Coxe at


About TELUS Fund

TELUS Fund finances exceptional content that promotes the health and well-being of Canadians. The Fund is made possible thanks to the vision of TELUS Corporation and the incredible success of TELUS TV with more than 1.1 Million customers in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec. The Fund is an independently governed, not-for-profit corporation certified by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission as a Canadian Independent Production Fund eligible to administer TELUS Corporation’s financial contributions in support of Canadian programming. Since launching in 2013, The Fund has committed over 35M to more than 100 projects.

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