The drug discovery process: from lead optimization to the clinical candidate

A.Y. 2020/2021
Course offered to students on the PhD programme in
Overall hours
Lesson period
February 2021
Lead instructor: Giancarlo Aldini
This course will give an overview of the approaches characterizing a crucial stage of the drug discovery process, i.e. the optimization of lead compounds towards the selection of drug candidates for clinical phases. The goal of this stage is to extensively optimize, in parallel, both the biological activity and the properties of the lead series, through a dedicated screening funnel of both in vitro and in vivo assays. Colleagues from companies, with consolidated expertise in the field, will illustrate the relavant steps of lead optimization, including medicinal chemistry, in vivo analysis, pharmacodynamics and toxicologival assessment, solid state characterization and preformulation studies. Selected case examples will also be presented and discussed.
Mandatory for Farmaceutical sciences PhD students.
Lessons are almost entirely organized with the contribution of colleagues coming from the industrial research world.
Therefore, the activation of the course is subject to reaching a minimum number of 10 PhD students.
Assessment methods
Giudizio di approvazione
Assessment result
superato/non superato
How to enrol


The course enrolment deadline is usually the 25th day of the month prior to the start date. More specifically:

  • 25 November 2021 for courses starting in December 2021
  • 27 December 2021 for courses starting in January 2022
  • 25 January 2022 for courses starting in February 2022.

Deadlines for enrolment in other courses will be announced as soon as possible.

How to enrol

  1. Access enrolment on PhD courses online service using your University login details
  2. Select the desired programme and click on Registration (Iscrizione) and then on Register (Iscriviti)

Ignore the option "Exam session date” that appears during the enrolment procedure.


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