nl en

Modern Drug Discovery


How are new drugs developed? This question is central to the Minor Modern Drug Discovery (MDD), which covers the entire trajectory from disease to drug molecule and vice versa. The various research groups involved offer a complementary and interdisciplinary perspective by connecting the diverse subjects in drug development into a coherent Minor. The main goal is to provide insight into novel drugs and their targets within the body. Students learn how to design, synthesize, formulate, administer and test a drug molecule before it may serve as ‘lead’ molecule for a future drug. These may be small molecules but also therapeutic proteins or vaccines may be considered. Moreover, (novel) targets are studied intensely via ‘omics’ approaches and bio-analysis of drugs. The drug development trajectory requires cooperation of various disciplines, which is shown by the fact that three different Bachelor studies from the Faculty of Science are involved in this Minor: MST, LST and BFW.

The following subjects are addressed in the Minor Modern Drug Discovery:

  • bio- and cheminformatics

  • ‘omics’ approaches

  • bio-analysis of drugs and their targets

  • formulation of drug molecules

  • administration of drugs

  • receptor- and enzyme systems

  • synthetic approaches

  • biological testing

These important parts are studied both in theory as well as in practice during the Minor programme. Based on interdisciplinary examples students learn various ways to identify and/or produce new ‘lead’ molecules that may serve as a basis for the development of new drug therapies.

When foreign students follow the Minor, all lectures and exams will be in English; students may however answer in Dutch.

Admission requirements

Admission criteria apply to this selection Minor (see Appendix 2 of the Education and Exam regulation BSc Programmes (OER)). It is only accessible to students in Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences, Life Science & Technology and Molecular Science & Technology who have successfully completed the course ‘Organic Chemistry 2’, or an equivalent course and two (bio)chemical practical courses of at least 3 EC each. In addition, they must evidently have sufficient knowlegde in the area of biochemistry/-pharmacy; students may be invited for an interview with the Minor coordinator. Students may be asked to study selected parts of text books before the start of the Minor.

This Minor consists of integrated courses and is meant to deepen the insight into drug discovery and development. The programme cannot be split into two parts of 15 EC and courses cannot be taken separately as an elective course.

Minimum/maximum capacity: 10/40. Since the number of students in laboratory courses is limited, the maximum number of students in this minor is strictly limited to 40.


This is a selection minor with early registration deadlines.

Application occurs via EduXchange (LEI/TUD/EUR), between April 3rd and April 16th 2023 and all students will remain on a waiting list until final placement. For TUD/EUR students a maximum of 7 places per university are available in the minor MDD.

All students outside Leiden University, TUD or EUR should always apply via the Minor Coordinator between April 3rd and April 16th 2023.

Please note that all non-LEI and non -LST students must send a transcript of their grades to the Minor Coordinator before April 16th 2023 to check the admission requirements.


Coordinator: Dhr. Dr. J.D. Kruijer


The Minor Modern Drug Discovery starts on September 4th 2023 at 9.00 a.m. in a lecture hall of the Gorlaeus Laboratoria and ends on February 2nd 2024.