Available in 2021
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


The course follows the evolution of drugs through time covering the principles of drug discovery in the areas of pharmacognosy and natural products; synthetic medicinal chemistry and the development of medicinal substances. The course will focus on chemistry and in particular how the chemical structure of a drug relates to its biological activity. The drug development pipeline from lead discovery to clinical trials will be introduced and concepts around regulatory affairs, patenting, registration and marketing will be covered in the context of new drug discovery.

Students are introduced to the fundamental instrumental methods of chemical analysis commonly used in pharmaceutical laboratories and basic separation and purification techniques including chromatography and electrophoresis.

Availability2021 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2021

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the chemical structure of a pharmaceutical agent and determine the chemical group/s responsible for a given biological effect.

2. Describe the modern and innovative discovery of biopharmaceuticals as it relates to today's healthcare and future trends in modern drug discovery globally.

3. Describe drug targets as a recognition site for pharmaceutical agents; how the chemical structure of a substance influences interaction with a drug target; and the identification of new drug targets for future drug discovery.

4. Describe the key concepts of the drug discovery process including regulatory affairs, patenting, registration and marketing in a global context.

5. Understand how stability of pharmaceuticals is affected by their chemical properties.

6. Demonstrate skills in the analysis of pharmaceutical compounds.


  1. Structure Activity Relationships:
    1. Identify the chemical component of a structure that contributes to, or determines the biological activity of, a pharmaceutical agent.
    2. Examine how variance in chemical structure allows for differences in interaction with drug target; spectrum of activity; potency; duration of action and other biological effects.
  2. Modern and innovative new drug technologies, which have led to the discovery of biopharmaceuticals including monoclonal antibodies and small peptides.
  3. Understanding of various drug targets including protein molecules such as receptor, enzyme, transporter and ion channel. Introduce the concept of immunological drug targets and how this relates to biopharmaceuticals.
  4. Scientific methods and future trends applied in drug discovery such as High Throughput Screening and how this related to the identification of drug targets.
  5. Introduction to regulatory affairs in drug discovery outlining the process of getting a drug approved and the functions of various Australian and global regulatory authorities. Includes patenting, registration and marketing.
  6. Introduction to bioinformatics and its role in drug discovery.
  7. Practical skills on the synthesis, separation, purification, quantitation and analysis of pharmaceutical and other relevant compounds.


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) [12328] or Bachelor of Biomedical Science [40097] programs, and have successfully completed CHEM1010.

Assumed knowledge

CHEM1010 Introductory Chemistry I, CHEM1020 Introductory Chemistry II , PHAR1201 Introduction to Formulation Sciences

Assessment items

Formal Examination: Written Exam *

In Term Test: Examination Class *

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Practical Report

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Practical: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions. - Students must complete a compulsory Health and Safety requirement.

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • In Term Test: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course. - Students must pass the combined formal and mid-term examinations to be able to pass the course.
  • Formal Examination: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course. - Students must pass the combined formal and mid-term examinations to be able to pass the course.

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 26 hour(s) per Term Full Term

3 hours per Week for 6 Weeks, 1 hour per Week for 6 Weeks and an in term examination


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 6 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 11 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 6 Weeks

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.