The modules will include training on the full drug discovery value chain from target identification through to the clinic, modules focussed on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning applied to drug discovery and modules focussed on regulatory sciences. The Foundation will work with various industry partners to develop and deliver the training sessions to focussed groups of researchers from African research institutions.
The main drug discovery simulation course will be an interactive and group discussion course, taking place over 2-3 days, in which participants are assigned roles in a project team tasked with the simulated discovery and development of a new medicine. The case studies include several infectious diseases relevant regionally including TB, MDR- XDR TB, malaria, and HIV; additional case studies are focused on atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. Through the experience, participants encounter and are asked to make decisions about various scientific challenges and possible research paths.
Project teams choose a therapeutic area and drug target, search for potential chemical leads, optimize and progress those leads through preclinical research, demonstrate the resulting drug candidate is safe and effective in patients, advance the drug through subsequent clinical trials, and ultimately submit the drug for registration with the health authorities.
Upon completion of the course, it is expected that participants are able to:
- Explain and discuss unmet medical need, knowledge of mechanism, disease expansion opportunities, and other factors considered when evaluating/pursuing a therapeutic target
- Describe in general terms the stages of drug discovery and development and what activities typically occur in those stages
- Explain the contribution of different scientific/clinical disciplines to drug discovery and development
- Propose and justify key elements of decision-making studies, both pre-clinical and clinical, and recognize the importance of identifying the critical path unique to each project necessary to move it forward
- Recognize and discuss challenges a project team may encounter in their mission to discover and develop a new drug
This course will be targeted at individuals who wish to gain an understanding of drug discovery and development, and exposure to the scientific strategies and decision-making a pharmaceutical company’s research organization may employ to develop safe, effective, and innovative medicines. A basic understanding of life sciences (biology, physiology, pathophysiology) is assumed.