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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Drug Discovery: From Laboratory Bench to Pharmacy Stack

Instructor(s): Rajesh Nagarajan, Chemistry

How often do you take medication? Every year, the pharmaceutical industry produces new medicines that help cure many diseases ranging from depression to AIDS to cancer. However, the process of inventing a new drug is very complex. Statistics show that only one in five thousand promising lead compounds becomes an approved drug. More importantly, it takes almost 15 years and roughly 1-2 billion dollars to transform a promising compound in a laboratory into an approved drug in a pharmacy, which illustrates the complexities involved in bringing a drug to market. Students in this course will explore issues involved in drug discovery and development, including how medicines are invented, how they are tested, who regulates drug approval process, who monitors the safety of the drug while and after it is being approved and how pharmaceutical companies manage the cost of drug failure. Together, with some case studies, we will discuss some of the controversies that focus on the role of the FDA in the drug approval process as a whole.