Skip to main content


MMB8006 : Drug discovery and development

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Simon Hill
  • Lecturer: Dr Ruben Thanacoody, Dr Matthew Leach, Professor Ann Daly, Dr Ian Hardcastle, Professor Ruth Plummer, Dr Simon Wilkinson, Dr Adam Potts, Professor Simon Thomas
  • Visiting Lecturer: Prof. Frank Bonner
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To develop a cohort of learners who fully understand and have practical experience of the drug discovery and development process and the necessary actions needed to take a basic science concept and translate it into a first in man study of a potential drug. To situate the learning within the research governance framework.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module covers the following topics, delivered through a series of lectures and formative assessments delivered through e-learning, supported by weekly interactive face-to-face seminars.

Drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination
Mechanisms of drug action
Inter-individual variability in pharmacokinetics and drug effects
Targets and target validation
Screening and hits
Molecular biology underpinning drug discovery
Optimising molecules
Pre-clinical studies
Clinical Trial Authorisation / First-in-man

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Preparation for final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Preparation of in-course assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00Introductory lecture (face-to-face)
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading254:00100:00E-learning sessions, to be completed in specified weeks preceding sceduled seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching13:003:00Seminar 3 hours; face-to-face
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching41:004:00Seminars of 1 hour; face-to-face
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching62:0012:00Seminars of 2 hours; face-to-face
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module is taught by a flipped classroom approach in conjunction with the Pharmaceutical Industry.
Core theoretical content will be provided by e-learning via Blackboard and will provide a framework on which to construct further self directed learning. Weekly interactive seminars will involve collaborative, problem based activities and tasks that will encourage students to activate and build on the previous week’s learning and facilitate deeper learning through social interaction - this key module feature is to allow learners to develop practical knowledge, skills and attitudes that can be applied in practice and future careers. Seminars also provide an opportunity to develop other skills including interpersonal and oral communication, collaboration and information literacy.
Private study is used for self-directed learning including further reading, preparation for the seminars, undertaking a piece of written coursework and preparing for examinations. This will allow the learners to develop skills in locating and appraising appropriate literature.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination601A60Choice of 3 essay questions. Students will answer one question only
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Design/Creative proj1M40Written report, 2000 words, based on study design and problem solving
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay-based written examination will test in-depth understanding and knowledge of material covered during the course relating directly to the intended knowledge outcomes, and also the ability to articulate this knowledge clearly in writing. The written report will test achievement of the stated intended skills outcomes and ability to apply these skills to a specific case study.

Reading Lists