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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BMSC3148 Drug Discovery and Development

10 creditsClass Size: 111

Module manager: Dr A. Pickles

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Satisfactory completion of Level 2 of a BMS programme, or equivalent

Module replaces

BMSC3149 Drug Development: Preclinical to Practice

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The entire process of drug discovery will be covered. Starting with the choice of pharmacological targets to treat diseases, lead compounds are found by screening large compound libraries. The subsequent optimisation of these initial hits via computational and synthetic chemistry then enables the detailed analysis of their molecular pharmacology. Whether a pharmacologically active compound becomes a drug then depends upon preclinical and clinical trials that assess the toxicity, pharmacokinetic profile, and efficacy of the compounds in vivo. Different drug responses in individuals, caused by genetically encoded variations, are increasingly important. Students will study in detail the preclinical and clinical development stages for testing drug efficacy and toxicity. Students will also acquire knowledge of the legal and regulatory aspects associated with the protection and marketing of a drug.


This module aims to provide an overview of the drug discovery and development process, from inception to market, and to study in detail the discovery process and development (preclinical and clinical) stages for testing drug efficacy and toxicity. Students will also acquire knowledge of the legal and regulatory aspects associated with the protection and marketing of a drug.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students will know and understand:
1. the overview of the modern drug discovery and development process and how it has developed;
2. the detailed stages of library-based and structure-based drug discovery, including: target identification, target validation, lead discovery, lead optimisation;
3. the many stages of drug development required for testing drug efficacy and toxicity;
4. the regulatory and legal aspects of drug marketing and patent protection;
5. the challenges, opportunities and peculiarities of biopharmaceuticals;
6. specific examples of drug discovery and development pathways.


- Overview of the modern drug discovery and development
- Classic drug discovery and the transition to modern-day approaches
- Target identification and validation
- Lead finding and DMPK optimisation
- Preclinical efficacy testing in animals
- Toxicological screening
- Clinical Trials
- Pharmacogenomic considerations
- Biopharmaceuticals
- Example drugs and their route through discovery and development

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours79.00
Total Contact hours21.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Students will be expected to spend time carrying out in-depth reading using review articles and peer-reviewed research papers.

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment24 hr 00 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:47:37


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