MEDSCI 745 : Drug Development

Medical and Health Sciences

2024 Semester Two (1245) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Examines approaches for bringing potential new therapeutic drugs from the discovery bench into the clinic and the drug development process. Explores a variety of drugs and uses case studies to provide a practical understanding. Integrates multidisciplinary perspectives, drawn from academic and industry experiences, on practices that contribute to the development of safe and effective drug therapies.

Course Overview

This course is comprised of 12 lectures that give an overview of the ways in which drug candidates can be brought from discovery into the clinic. The lectures begin with an introduction to the drug development pathway, followed by topics that include pharmacology, drug disposition, drug delivery, safety, quality assurance & control, drug manufacturing, clinical trials, biomarkers, pharmacogenomics and intellectual property protection.
There are four types of assessments included in this course (no final exam).

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 30 points from Biological Sciences, Medical Sciences or Pharmacology at Stage III or higher, or equivalent

Course Contacts

Dr Julie Spicer (course director)
+64 9 923 6149

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Graduate Profile: Master of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain the drug discovery and development process (Capability 3 and 6)
  2. Differentiate the contributions made by multiple scientific disciplines to drug discovery and development (Capability 3 and 4)
  3. Identify ways in which translational research contributes to drug development (Capability 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  4. Articulate current practices and factors that influence candidate drug selection during progression through the preclinical to clinical stages of drug development (Capability 3, 4 and 6)
  5. Compare and contrast the features and development paths of different types of therapeutic drugs (Capability 2, 3, 4 and 6)
  6. Analyse and synthesise published literature and relevant knowledge on drug therapies and their development paths (Capability 3, 4 and 6)
  7. Identify and critique current scientific issues or debates about the development of drug therapies (Capability 3, 4 and 6)
  8. Be able to work collaboratively to deliver an outcome from group work (Capability 5, 6 and 7)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignment 1: Article summary in-class presentation 20% Individual Coursework
Quizzes 20% Individual Coursework
Assignment 2: Investor pitch in-class presentation 20% Individual Coursework
Assignment 3: Essay 40% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Assignment 1: Article summary in-class presentation
Assignment 2: Investor pitch in-class presentation
Assignment 3: Essay

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week for each 15 point course, this is approximately 150 hours of study.

For this course, you can expect 24 hours of lectures (2 hours per week) and  approximately 126 hours of reading, self-directed learning and completing assignments.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled lectures to complete components of the course. Lectures will be available as recordings. 
The course may include live online events including lectures/group discussions.
The activities for the course are scheduled as twelve two hour sessions (one per week), with remaining time to be self-directed learning and completing assignments.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

The essay due date will be extended until one week after the final lecture to enable students to incorporate knowledge learned from all lectures into this assignment.
The case study for Lecture 12 will be published on Canvas prior to the scheduled session to enable students to consider the case study before answering the quiz questions.

Other Information

Assessment is 100% in course and there is no final examination.
Assignment 1: Article summary and seminar presentation (20%) : Each student will be assigned an article from which they will prepare a 10 minute seminar that will be presented to the class. There will be 5 minutes of questions from the class. This assessment will reinforce and expand on lecture content, evaluating the students' ability to critique and summarise complex information and communicate scientific material.
In course assessments: Quizzes (20%) : Four quizzes, in the last 4 weeks of the course, will be given in class (4x5% = 20% of the final mark). The quizzes will be in short answer or multiple choice format. This assessment will reinforce and expand on lecture content.
Assignment 2: Investor Pitch (20%) : Students will be given a topic to research and must prepare both a (scientific) investor pitch presentation and a written summary (500 words). This assessment evaluates the ability to locate, critique and summarise complex scientific information from multiple sources into a format suitable for public communication.
Assignment 3: Essay (40%) : Students will be given a topic to research and must prepare a 3500 word essay written in their own words. This assessment evaluates the ability to prepare a structured scientific essay. It requires students to locate, critique and summarise complex information from multiple sources in their own words.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 22/11/2023 09:05 a.m.