Principles and Practice of Drug Development

Last updated 03/12/2024

PPDD is returning in Fall semester 2024! Please join us for another semester of exciting learning inside and outside of the classroom!

PPDD is a joint MIT-Harvard course listed in multiple departments under the following numbers: BCMP230/ 7.547J/ 15.136J/ 10.547J/ HST.920J/ IDS.620J. We also welcome students from outside of Harvard or MIT.

Course Directors: Stan N. Finkelstein and Peter K. Sorger

Course Founding Directors: Thomas J. Allen, Charles L. Cooney, G. K. Raju, Anthony Sinskey

PPDD was one of the earliest courses focused on the practice of contemporary drug discovery. It has been updated repeatedly and is thoroughly revamped for the 2020 academic year. PPDD is taught by MIT and Harvard Faculty and by guest experts from the pharma and biotech industries, finance, and government agencies. The course emphasizes a high level of student participation.

PPDD is suitable for individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds and interests from biology to engineering, business and medicine. We welcome both graduates and undergraduate students. You should expect some of the materials to be very familiar and others to be entirely foreign (e.g. finance if you are medical student). This replicates real world work environments and we expect to students with complementary skills to work together in interdisciplinary teams.

Course Description. Introduction to and critical assessment of the concepts, technologies and practical challenges of developing a new medicine and bringing it to market. Pharmacology fundamentals, preclinical drug discovery, clinical trials, manufacturing and regulatory issues, as well as financing and marketing are discussed for small molecule, biologic and cellular therapies. Faculty from MIT, Harvard and industry present introductory and topic-specific lectures (case studies) and students engage in weekly news updates and collaborative research projects. The course uses a medical, economic and societal issues associated with drug development now and in the future.

Wednesdays 3-6pm. MIT room 4-237.

Prerequisite: Instructor permission. No particular course is required. Knowledge of basic biology, biomedicine or bioengineering, and familiarity with basic economic principles will be helpful but not necessary for the course.

Note on class participation: The interactive component of this course is established through insightful questions and critical thinking of students taking the course. It is therefore critical that you prepare for class and are ready to ask insightful questions on the topic of each session. Questions are encouraged throughout the session but are essential in the Q&A part of each class.

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