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    In-depth exploration of critical decision points in the development of new medicines, from discovery and refinement, to preclinical assay selection, clinical trial design, and societal, ethical and regulatory challenges.

    If you have ever wondered how new medicines are developed, then this paper will interest you. In this paper, we explore how drugs are discovered, designed, and delivered, evaluate laboratory models and clinical trials for testing drug safety and efficacy, and discuss societal, ethical, financial, and regulatory challenges in drug development.

    About this paper

    Paper title Drug Discovery and Development
    Subject Pharmacology
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    Two of (BIOC 192, BIOL 112, BIOL 123, CELS 191, CHEM 111, CHEM 191, HUBS 191, HUBS 192, PTWY 131, PTWY 132) and 54 further points
    Schedule C

    Course Co-ordinator: Associate Professor Lyn Wise (

    Teaching staff

    Associate Professor Lyn Wise
    Dr Jonathan Falconer
    Dr Greg Giles
    Professor Paul Smith
    Professor Debbie Hay
    Dr Sarah Baird
    Associate Professor John Ashton

    Paper Structure

    Lecture Modules:

    • The Drug Pipeline
    • Nature is the Best Medicine
    • Drug Safety
    • Drug Design & Delivery
    • Drug Action
    • Drug Effects
    • Clinic & Beyond
    • Challenges for the Future

    Practical Series:

    • Industry Research Contract: to extract, characterise and test the anti-microbial efficacy of a NZ-derived natural product
    • Drug Refinement Challenge: to use in silico tools to modify a drug structure and to predict changes in its safety and efficacy
    • Regulatory Panel: to simulate the processes involved in approving drugs for human use


    • Industry Lab Report - 10%
    • Drug Critique and Proposal - 10%
    • Panel Participation (oral presentation and written opinion) - 10%
    • Module tests - 15%
    • Final exam - 55%

    No textbooks required.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the critical steps and decision points in drug discovery and development
    • Explore the laboratory, computer and clinical models and tools used to assess drug safety and efficacy
    • Develop an awareness of the societal, ethical, and regulatory challenges associated with developing medicines
    • Demonstrate the principles of good laboratory practice and experimental design
    • Develop skills to identify, use and critically evaluate information from appropriate and reliable sources
    • Demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively, through written and oral means, to scientific and non-scientific audiences


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Tuesday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 15-22
    Thursday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
    Friday 13:00-13:50 9-12, 15-16, 18-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    A1 Tuesday 14:00-15:50 10-13, 15-21
    A2 Tuesday 16:00-17:50 10-13, 15-21
    A3 Wednesday 14:00-15:50 10-13, 15-21
    A4 Wednesday 16:00-17:50 10-13, 15-21
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