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Unit Overview


This unit consolidates concepts introduced in PHCY5618 Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Analysis as well as PHCY5610 Physical Pharmacy and Biopharmaceutics. It focuses on the relationships between chemical structure and biological activity of various drugs. Emphasis is on basic principles, broad structure–activity relationships and the mechanisms of action (where known) of a range of important drugs in a number of classes (e.g. antibacterials and antivirals, anticancer drugs, cholinergics and adrenergics, steroids and analgesics) as well as the chemical strategies that have been adopted to optimise their activity. These concepts also require an appreciation of the chemistry of proteins and nucleic acids as these macromolecules constitute common drug targets. Further, the unit introduces students to the drug development process and explores sources of lead compounds as well as strategies of lead optimisation. Additionally, technical and analytical skills in methods commonly employed in drug isolation, identification and analysis are acquired and refined.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) appreciate the many facets of the drug development process; (2) be familiar with the chemistry of proteins and nucleic acids as common drug targets; (3) understand the various ways in which drugs interact with their biological target; (4) recognise and classify a number of drug structures and predict their in vivo behaviour and activity; (5) describe structure–activity relationships and the mechanism of action of various drugs at the molecular level; (6) understand how physiochemical properties of drugs affect their principal therapeutic applications and/or toxicity, stability, absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion; and (7) competently demonstrate technical and analytical skills in methods commonly employed in drug isolation, identification and analysis.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) laboratory assessments; (2) tests; and (3) final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Connie Locher
Unit rules
Enrolment in
51500 Master of Pharmacy
Contact hours
lectures: 39 hours
tutorials/case studies: 9 hours
labs: 18 hours

Patrick, G. L. An Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry, 6th edn: Oxford University Press 2017

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.