Clinical efficacy of the antiplatelet drug clopidogrel is hampered by its variable biotransformation into the active metabolite1,2. The variability in the clinical response to clopidogrel treatment has been attributed to genetic factors, but the specific genes and mechanisms underlying clopidogrel bioactivation remain unclear. Using in vitro metabolomic profiling techniques, we identified paraoxonase-1 (PON1) as the crucial enzyme for clopidogrel bioactivation, with its common Q192R polymorphism determining the rate of active metabolite formation. We tested the clinical relevance of the PON1 Q192R genotype in a population of individuals with coronary artery disease who underwent stent implantation and received clopidogrel therapy. PON1 QQ192 homozygous individuals showed a considerably higher risk than RR192 homozygous individuals of stent thrombosis, lower PON1 plasma activity, lower plasma concentrations of active metabolite and lower platelet inhibition. Thus, we identified PON1 as a key factor for the bioactivation and clinical activity of clopidogrel. These findings have therapeutic implications and may be exploited to prospectively assess the clinical efficacy of clopidogrel.