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CH40210: Future of drug discovery

[Page last updated: 21 April 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/3
Owning Department/School: Department of Chemistry
Credits: 3 [equivalent to 6 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 60
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 2
Assessment Summary: CW 20%, EX 60%, PR 20%
Assessment Detail:
  • Exam (EX 60%)
  • Drug Discovery Business Case (PR 20%)
  • Oral Presentation (CW 20%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Requisites: Before taking this module you must take CH10191 AND take CH10192 AND ( take CH20149 OR take CH20150 ) or equivalent.
Learning Outcomes: After taking this course the student will be able to:
* Appreciate the range of emerging techniques, scientific breakthroughs and economic factors that define the future of drug discovery;
* Understand how financial, legal, logistical, marketing and political decisions affect the drug discovery process;
* Realize the increasing range of 'biologic' drug molecules that are being developed to treat disease;
* Be aware of a range of cutting edge therapeutic areas and drug discovery programs that are currently being pursued within the pharmaceutical industry;
* Critically evaluate selected examples of recent research in drug discovery.

Aims: The impact that recent developments in biology, chemistry and automation will have on the drug discovery process will be discussed.

Skills: Numeracy (F, A), Problem solving (T, F A), Scientific writing (F, A), Independent working (F), Group working (F).

Content: Discuss the new generation of biological drugs (e.g. antibody therapy, siRNA, peptide based drugs, etc), biomarkers. Vaccination. Tools for cellular imaging. Clinical trials and risk assessment. Fragment based drug discovery. Chemical genetics and proteomics. Structural biology and drug discovery. Targeting protein-protein interactions. Systems biology and drug discovery. A 'Dragons Den' like project will be run where the students work in teams to pitch their idea for a new drug candidate.

Programme availability:

CH40210 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Chemistry
  • USCH-AFM05 : MChem(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery (Year 4)
  • USCH-AAM06 : MChem(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery with Study year abroad (Year 4)
  • USCH-AKM03 : MChem(Hons) Chemistry for Drug Discovery with Industrial Placement (Year 4)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
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