Drug Discovery PhD

Why innovate in drug discovery?

Our program is designed to develop the next generation of innovators by creating a group of world-class researchers who can address drug discovery challenges through multidisciplinary approaches.

The past century has seen significant advances in our understanding and thus our ability to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure a range of diseases. However, an enormous unmet need for safe, effective and affordable therapies remains. The drug discovery process is slow, expensive and fewer than 15 per cent of drugs make it through clinical trials successfully. These challenges arise in part because, in many diseases, it is unclear what has gone wrong in the body. Without a clear understanding of where, on the molecular level, the problem lies, we cannot identify potential targets for drugs. Once drug candidates have been identified, they need to reach their target in the body and have the correct effect without unexpected toxic side effects. In addition, disease models often insufficiently represent the complexity of human diseases. Coupled with a lack of validated diagnostic and therapeutic biomarkers as well as phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity, many drug candidates fail in clinical trials. 

A new generation of multidisciplinary scientists is urgently needed to develop innovative solutions to the challenges faced in drug discovery. The IMB Drug Discovery cohort is focused not only on discovery of new molecules with therapeutic potential – whether through rational design or by drawing inspiration from natural sources of bioactive molecules – but also on fundamental research to improve our understanding of disease mechanisms, how biological targets might be manipulated for therapeutic benefit, how we can harness genomic data for precision medicine, and how we can produce therapeutics in innovative systems such as algae or plants.

IMB has extensive national and international collaborations with academics, not-for-profits and companies interested in drug discovery. As an IMB cohort candidate, you will benefit from our collaborative networks and cutting edge expertise to tackle these issues in innovative ways.