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MMB8006 : Drug Discovery and Development

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Simon Hill
  • Lecturer: Dr Matthew Leach, Dr Ruben Thanacoody, Prof. Simon Thomas, Professor Ruth Plummer, Dr Ian Hardcastle, Dr Adam Potts, Dr Simon Wilkinson
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


To develop a cohort of learners who have a detailed and practical understanding 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 UK regulatory and 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.

Pharmacokinetics (Drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination)
Pharmacodynamics (Mechanisms of drug action)
Pharmacogenomics and 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 studies

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion184:3084:30Preparation of in-course assessment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading128:0096:00E-learning sessions, to be completed in specified weeks preceding scheduled seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching21:002:00Present in person (PIP) Pharmacology seminar
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching72:0014:00Present in person (PIP) Drug Discovery problem based small group work seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00Present in person (PIP): First in man
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery10:300:30Present in person (PIP): in-course assessment preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk21:002:00Present in person (PIIP) Introductory sessions
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 Canvas and will provide a framework on which to construct further 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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M50Written report 1000 words Flow chart expected/proposed screening cascade & optimization strategy for chosen drug target/equivalent
Report1M50Written report 1000 words. Submission of tox and whole animal pharmacology strategy for a fixed project.
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1MPresentation - 15 minute max. Recorded and uploaded by students
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written reports will test achievement of the stated intended knowledge and skills outcomes and ability to apply these skills to a specific case study.

Reading Lists