Molecular Approaches to Drug Development

Module overview

This module provides an understanding of drug development, focusing on the molecular approaches used. The module covers cancer and molecular target selection, including bioinformatic and systems biology approaches, and the development of small molecule drugs. It includes a component covering biotherapeutics, an exciting branch of drug discovery. Furthermore, it provides an overview of the clinical trials pathway from early stage testing to final drug approval. The module covers cutting-edge techniques to identify lead drug compounds and new methodologies such as fragment-based screening approaches, and illustrates how protein structural biology methods such as x-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance can provide crucial information for drug design studies. Finally, current examples will be presented of successful drug design in areas such as structure based drug design, drug redeployment, and development of recombinant biologicals.

NB. it is likely that this module will be modified in 2015/16 to focus more on immunotherapies.


20 Masters level credits

Module attendance required

Optional module, which is taken non-intensively over a 4-week period.

Module dates

January 12 – February 10 (in 2015)


Summatively assessed with a multiple choice question (MCQ) exam (50%) and with a 3000 word essay (50%).

Academics involved in the delivery of this module 

Prof. Ben Willcox and Dr Fiyaz Mohammed with lecturers from the University of Birmingham.