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Drug trials

An Executive MBA alumnus, Dr Rav Seeruthun, heads a Roche team that has developed a drug being tested to fight COVID-19. 

Picture of drug trials.

Dr Rav Seeruthun (EMBA 2013) of Cambridge Judge Business School, is heading a team at the Roche UK Medical Directorate that has developed a drug that is now the subject of three trials to test the drug’s effectiveness in fighting COVID-19 (coronavirus). 

The Roche product, Tocilizumab, is part of the RECOVERY trial, the largest COVID-19 clinical trial in the world, which is looking at the effectiveness of several drugs on those admitted to hospital with early stages of the disease. Two other trials are looking at Tocilizumab in relation to later stages of the disease when patients are admitted to intensive care units.  

The trials are looking into whether the drug, which is an anti-inflammatory treatment given by injection, can help reduce the cytokine storm seen in COVID-19 and therefore decrease the number of coronavirus deaths. The trials follow a research-based approach regarding Tocilizumab by Rav’s team in conjunction with teams from Oxford University and Imperial College, London. 

Rav, who is a William Pitt Fellow at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, said he is hopeful that the first results will be available by late July 2020 and if positive will lead to a license being granted quickly.