Pharmaceutical Sciences & Drug Exploration

sciencePharmaceutical sciences is a diverse branch of science that encompasses the study of chemistry, biology, physiology and more. The discovery and exploration of potential new drugs is one of the most exciting and rewarding areas of the discipline. Pharmaceutical science is a broad area of study and can encompass emphasis on drug development, clinical study, education, health care support, manufacturing and chemical analysis.

What is Drug Exploration?

Drug exploration refers to the process of discovering, synthesizing, testing and marketing new drugs for therapeutic benefit. Lives, health and wellbeing are all at stake with a potential new drug and as a result, it is time consuming, expensive and difficult to get a new drug beyond the conceptual stage. In fact, many drugs are left on the proverbial “cutting room floor” before they ever advance beyond the initial stages of exploration.

The process of discovery is a long one. A compound that may have potential must be studied for chemical stability, it must also be studied for toxicology to ensure that it is safe for human consumption. A drug must also be tested for efficacy – that is, how well the drug performs as intended – and the potential side effects must also be deeply studied. Each of these steps is a career in and of itself.

Read some quotes:

Alice E. Till, Ph.D.: President, Generic Pharmaceutical Industry Association

My education in the pharmaceutical sciences continues to open doors to career opportunities I never dreamed of when I entered pharmacy school 36 years ago. From various positions in research and marketing in the pharmaceutical industry to my current position at GPIA, where I work with the FDA and Congress, I have used my education to improve the health of patients all over the world by facilitating access to effective pharmaceutical drug products. My career gets more exciting every day.

Ronald T. Borchardt, Ph.D.: Solon E. Summerfield Professor and Chairman, Department of Pharmaceuticals Chemistry, The University of Kansas

For me, this is a very exciting time to be in pharmaceutics. We have the opportunity to work with medicinal chemists to design the drugs of the future, with optimal delivery characteristics. It is particularly gratifying to see how cell culture models developed in our laboratory at the University of Kansas in the late 1980s are being used by the pharmaceutical industry to optimize the delivery characteristics of drug candidates.

What Are the Main Areas of Emphasis?

Drug Discovery
This is the process of discovering new chemicals or new potential uses for chemicals. This is a chemistry and research-heavy discipline. This is where new drugs are formulated.

Drug Delivery
Drug delivery is the method by which a drug is delivered to a patient. Drugs can be administered in a variety of ways (IV, pills, liquids, etc.) and it is this area of study that focuses on the best method of delivery for proper absorption and synthesis of a drug.

Drug Action
This is an area of research that mostly seeks to determine efficacy as well as to study the overall effect new drugs have on living organisms. This is the study of the effect that new drugs have when they enter a body, how the body processes it and reacts to it and so on.

Drug Design & Delivery
The development, testing and marketing of new pharmaceutical drugs is one of the biggest areas of pharmacological research and development. This is the process by which new compounds are discovered, synthesized and tested for applicability as a therapeutic treatment for a disease or ailment. The exploration, study and design of potential new drugs, as well as the most suited delivery method, is a complex and rigorous process.