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BMS663 Drug Discovery UITM Assignment Answer Malaysia

The BMS663 Drug Discovery course at UITM (Universiti Teknologi MARA) in Malaysia explores how molecular biology has revolutionized the drug discovery process. It shifts from a chemistry-based random approach to a guided process based on understanding the pathophysiology of diseases. The BMS663  course focuses on identifying and validating molecular targets, as well as seeking compounds that interact with these targets, either from natural sources or through laboratory synthesis. As a result, this course fosters the development of a new generation of molecular drugs with high specificity and minimal side effects. The main objective of the course is to provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively translate laboratory discoveries into practical applications in patient care.

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Assignment Activity 1 : Describe the basic concepts of drug discovery and how biotechnology and genetics are used in drug discovery and testing

Drug discovery is the process of identifying and developing new pharmaceutical compounds to treat various diseases and medical conditions. It involves a series of steps to find potential drug candidates and ensure their safety and efficacy. Biotechnology and genetics play crucial roles in this process, offering valuable tools and insights to streamline drug discovery and testing.

  • Target Identification: The first step is to identify a specific molecular target in the body that is associated with a particular disease. This target could be a protein, enzyme, receptor, or any other biomolecule involved in the disease’s mechanism.
  • Target Validation: Once a potential target is identified, it needs to be validated to ensure that modulating this target will indeed have a therapeutic effect. Biotechnology and genetics play a role in understanding the target’s function and importance in the disease pathway.
  • Hit Generation: In this stage, a large number of compounds or molecules are screened to find those that can interact with the validated target. Various biotechnological methods, such as high-throughput screening and computer-aided drug design, are employed to identify potential “hits.”
  • Lead Optimization: After obtaining hits, the next step is lead optimization. Biotechnology enables the modification of lead compounds to enhance their potency, selectivity, and pharmacokinetic properties.
  • Preclinical Testing: In this phase, the lead compounds undergo extensive preclinical testing using animal models and cell cultures. Genetics plays a significant role here as well, as genetically modified animal models can be used to better understand the compound’s effects on specific disease-related pathways.
  • Clinical Trials: Once a lead compound shows promising results in preclinical testing, it moves into clinical trials, which involve testing the drug’s safety and efficacy in humans. Genetic information can also be used in clinical trials to identify patient populations that may respond better to the drug.
  • FDA Approval: After successful completion of clinical trials, the drug can be submitted for regulatory approval. Biotechnological techniques are utilized to produce the drug in large quantities for commercial distribution.

Assignment Activity 2 : Understand the various steps towards the discovery of a drug

  • Target Identification: Identifying the molecular target associated with a specific disease.
  • Target Validation: Confirming the target’s significance and suitability for drug intervention.
  • Hit Generation: Screening a large number of compounds to find potential “hits” that interact with the target.
  • Lead Optimization: Modifying lead compounds to improve their drug-like properties.
  • Preclinical Testing: Evaluating lead compounds in animal models and cell cultures for safety and efficacy.
  • Clinical Trials: Testing the drug in humans through various phases of clinical trials.
  • FDA Approval: Seeking regulatory approval for the new drug.

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Assignment Activity 3 : Describe the various steps required for the commercialization of a new drug.

  • Preclinical Development: Before a new drug can be commercialized, it undergoes extensive preclinical testing in laboratories. This phase involves in vitro (test tube) and in vivo (animal) studies to evaluate the drug’s safety and efficacy. The data generated during preclinical development is submitted to regulatory authorities for approval to proceed to clinical trials.
  • Clinical Trials: Clinical trials are conducted in multiple phases to assess the drug’s safety and efficacy in humans. Phase I trials involve a small group of healthy volunteers to determine the drug’s safety profile and optimal dosage. Phase II trials expand the study to a larger group of patients to assess efficacy and further evaluate safety. Phase III trials involve a larger population to confirm the drug’s effectiveness, monitor side effects, and compare it to existing treatments or placebos.
  • Regulatory Approval: Once the clinical trial data is collected, the drug’s developer submits a New Drug Application (NDA) or Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) to the regulatory authorities (e.g., FDA in the United States, EMA in the European Union). The regulatory agencies review the data to ensure the drug’s safety and efficacy and may grant marketing approval if the drug’s benefits outweigh its risks.
  • Intellectual Property Protection: Throughout the drug development process, it is essential to protect the drug’s intellectual property through patents and other forms of intellectual property rights. This protection ensures that the drug’s developer has exclusive rights to manufacture and market the drug for a specified period.
  • Manufacturing and Quality Control: Once regulatory approval is obtained, the drug is manufactured on a larger scale to meet commercial demand. Stringent quality control measures are implemented to ensure each batch of the drug meets the required standards for safety and efficacy.
  • Market Access and Pricing: The drug’s developer works with healthcare providers, insurers, and government agencies to ensure that the drug is accessible to patients. Pricing strategies are determined, considering factors such as production costs, market demand, and the drug’s perceived value.
  • Marketing and Sales: A comprehensive marketing and sales strategy is developed to promote the drug to healthcare professionals and consumers. This includes educational materials, advertisements, and sales representatives who engage with healthcare providers to encourage prescription and usage of the drug.
  • Post-Marketing Surveillance: After the drug is commercialized, post-marketing surveillance is essential to monitor its real-world safety and efficacy. Adverse events and unexpected side effects are reported and analyzed to ensure the drug’s continued safety.
  • Life Cycle Management: As the drug continues to be used, ongoing research and development are conducted to improve its formulation, expand its indications, or develop new dosage forms. This life cycle management helps maximize the drug’s potential and competitiveness in the market.

Assignment Activity 4 : Perform basic bioassay and toxicity tests

Performing basic bioassay and toxicity tests is an essential part of drug development to ensure the safety and efficacy of a new drug candidate. Here’s a general outline of the steps involved:


  • Identify the specific biological target or activity that the drug candidate is intended to interact with or modulate.
  • Prepare the test samples of the drug candidate in different concentrations or doses.
  •  Use appropriate biological models, such as cell cultures, tissues, or whole organisms, that possess the target of interest. 
  • Apply the drug candidate samples to the biological models and observe the response or activity. 
  • Measure and quantify the biological response to determine the potency and efficacy of the drug candidate.

Acute Toxicity Test:

  •  Select appropriate animal models (e.g., rats, mice) for testing the drug candidate’s acute toxicity.
  •  Administer the drug candidate to the animals at various dose levels. 
  • Observe the animals for a short period to detect any immediate adverse effects.
  • Assess the mortality rate and observe any visible signs of toxicity. 
  • Calculate the LD50 (lethal dose for 50% of the population) to determine the drug candidate’s acute toxicity level.

Subchronic and Chronic Toxicity Tests:

  • Administer the drug candidate to animal models for an extended period, typically 28 days to several months. 
  • Monitor the animals for signs of toxicity and adverse effects over the testing period. 
  • Conduct regular measurements and assessments to identify any long-term toxic effects on organs and tissues.

Genotoxicity Test:

  •  Expose bacterial or mammalian cells to the drug candidate or its metabolites.
  •  Analyze the DNA for potential mutations or damage caused by the drug candidate.
  • Evaluate the genotoxic potential of the drug candidate based on the test results.

Carcinogenicity Test: 

  • Administer the drug candidate to animals for an extended period (usually 2 years). 
  •  Monitor the animals for the development of tumors or cancerous growths. 
  • Analyze the incidence and types of tumors to assess the drug candidate’s carcinogenic potential.

Reproductive and Developmental Toxicity Test:

  • Administer the drug candidate to pregnant animals during different stages of pregnancy.
  •  Observe and assess the effects on the pregnant animals and their offspring. 
  •  Evaluate the drug candidate’s potential to cause adverse effects on reproduction and fetal development.

ADME-Tox Testing:

  • Study the drug candidate’s absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion properties in animals or cell models.
  • Assess how the drug candidate is processed and eliminated from the body. 
  • Evaluate potential interactions with other drugs and substances.

These tests help identify any potential safety concerns associated with the drug candidate, guiding decision-making during the drug development process and ensuring the drug’s safety for human use.

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