New online course "An Introduction to Pharmaceutical Biotechnology" / 10 May. 2017

Most drugs that we take consist of small, chemical substances formulated in tablets for oral use, but an increasing number of drugs consist of biopharmaceuticals. These are drugs that have been produced in animals (goats, rabbits) or from cells derived from animals. In fact, the majority of newly approved drugs are biopharmaceuticals. Good examples are insulin, growth hormones and monoclonal antibodies against disease-causing proteins. The discipline that deals with the development of these biological drugs is called Pharmaceutical Biotechnology.

Despite the importance to teach the next generation of pharmacists how biopharmaceuticals are being developed and what the unique characteristics of these biological drugs are, surprisingly Pharmaceutical Biotechnology has still to become an integral part of many Pharmacy curricula worldwide.

The new online course “An Introduction to Pharmaceutical Biotechnology” aims to provide an overview of all aspects of pharmaceutical biotechnology for those with a biomedical or pharmaceutical background who want to learn more about this topic. The course has been developed in a joint effort by Elevate Health and the department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Utrecht University. The course starts with the introduction of several biopharmaceutical products (BPs) that are currently on the market and then describes how the drug substances present in these products were actually obtained and produced by means of living cells. Topics such as gene cloning, cell line development, bioprocessing, and downstream purification methods will be discussed as well as formulation and delivery issues of recombinant proteins and nucleic acids. Furthermore, attention will be given to the registration process of BPs as well as to the cost-benefit analysis and the socio-economic impact these often pricy drugs might have.

This online course will take 8 weeks in which the participants can work in their own time and pace. The course stimulates interaction with fellow participants and provides plenty of room for discussion and feedback by expert teachers from Utrecht University. It consists of 8 separate modules which can be followed sequentially with unique learning materials in the form of weblectures, workshops, self-assessment quizzes, research articles and instruction movies. We hope you will enjoy this course.

The start date of the first edition of An Introduction to Pharmaceutical Biotechnology will be announced on our courses page as soon as it becomes available.