MSc Model-based Drug Development

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
PBPK and IVIVE 2 Advanced Concepts and Applications

Course unit fact file
Unit code PHAR69932
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Pharmacy
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit provides further training on the use of mechanistic pharmacokinetic models, which use mathematical descriptions of physiological processes to predict the fate of drug molecules within the human body. Completion of the introductory module is an essential prerequisite. The unit addresses two key aspects of IVIVE:

  1. developing mathematical representation of key chemical and physiological processes that affect drug molecules in the body, and
  2. defining the relationships that link these processes. Implementation of this approach will be described in the following areas:
  • Prediction of drug-drug and drug-disease interactions in special populations such as neonates, children, patients with kidney or liver impairment
  • Use of IVIVE to assess propagation of genetic differences in drug metabolizing enzymes in different populations
  • Special considerations for biologics


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Basic Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics PHAR69921 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
PBPK and In Vitro In Vivo Extrapolation (IVIVE) (1) Fundamental Concepts PHAR69922 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


The unit aims to:

  • Provide examples and promote reflection on the use of in vitro assays to characterise ADME properties of new drug entities.
  • Provide experience in critical assessment of recent uses of physiologically based pharmacokinetic models, identifying the valuable information provided by such models and the limitations associated with these methods.
  • Give examples to show how physiologically based models have advanced the process of drug development, and identify advances that have occurred recently or are expected in the near future.

Teaching and learning methods

The unit is delivered over a 6-week period.

  • Lectures
  • Workshops, entailing guided sequences of analysis with interactive discussion with tutor
  • Seminars presenting examples of PBPK in drug development
  • Directed reading
  • Formative-assessed calculation-based coursework (pass/fail)
  • Summative-assessed calculation-based coursework 

Knowledge and understanding

Students should be able to: 

  • Discuss examples of how in vitro- in vivo scaling methods are currently being used to guide drug development.
  • Describe how physiological modelling provides insight into drug-development problems such as drug-drug interactions and other drug/system interactions.
  • Describe the specific challenges and modelling approaches that arise in coping with special patient populations and special classes of drug such as biologics.

Intellectual skills

Students should be able to: 

  • Critically analyse observations on plasma drug concentration-time profiles and characterise them quantitatively for the purpose of making inferences between different drugs, different patients, different conditions etc.
  • Identify the reasons for differences in the time-courses of drug effect and plasma drug concentration.
  • Make informed predictions of the behaviour of drugs in body with respect to plasma drug concentration-time profile.
  • Apply basic biostatistical concepts and interpret statistical information arising from clinical trials.
  • Critically assess applications of physiologically based modelling and make judgements about acceptable use of such models

Practical skills

Students should be able to:

  • Perform calculations using fundamental pharmacokinetic equations
  • Use specialised computer software Simcyp and Matlab along with more general data analysis/presentation software to simulate and explore the effects of covariates on drug and metabolite concentrations in the body. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Students should be able to:

  • extracting key points from scientific literature
  • effective written communication

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 40%
Written assignment (inc essay) 60%

Breakdown of written assignment weightings:

Assessment task


How and when feedback is provided

Weighting within unit (if relevant)


Formative assessments X 4

~2 hours

Model answers presented in tutorial


Coursework – ‘ First in human’ design

 2 pages

written within 2 weeks; online


Coursework – Special populations

 2 pages

written within 2 weeks; online


Case study report and oral presentation – drug development/ clinical application

2 pages

written within 2 weeks; verbal at time of presentation



Recommended reading

Lecture notes cite key research articles and reviews, which include…

Wienkers, L.C. and T.G. Heath (2005) Predicting in vivo drug interactions from in vitro drug discovery data. Nat Rev Drug Discov 4:825-33.

Houston, J.B. and A. Galetin (2008) Methods for predicting in vivo pharmacokinetics using data from in vitro assays. Curr Drug Metab. 9:940-51.

Rostami-Hodjegan, A. (2012) Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetics Joined With In Vitro-In Vivo Extrapolation of ADME: A Marriage Under the Arch of Systems Pharmacology. Clin Pharmacol Ther 92:50-61.

Jamei, M., S. Marciniak, K. Feng, A. Barnett, G. Tucker, and A. Rostami-Hodjegan (2009) The Simcyp population-based ADME simulator. Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 5:211-23.

Rowland, M., C. Peck, and G. Tucker (2011) Physiologically-based pharmacokinetics in drug development and regulatory science. Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol 51:45-73.

Zhao, P., M. Rowland, and S.M. Huang (2012) Best practice in the use of physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling and simulation to address clinical pharmacology regulatory questions. Clin Pharmacol Ther 92:17-20.

Tsamandouras, N., A. Rostami-Hodjegan, and L. Aarons (2013) Combining the "bottom-up" and "top-down" approaches in pharmacokinetic modelling: Fitting PBPK models to observed clinical data. Br J Clin Pharmacol.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1
Lectures 12
Seminars 22
Tutorials 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 109

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Adam Darwich Unit coordinator

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