The Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) is a dynamic, innovative and ambitious research institute, comprising over 400 scientists engaged in research in drug discovery, design, delivery and use. As part of the top ranked Pharmacy Faculty in the Asia Pacific, we collaborate with leading pharmaceutical partners and our discoveries have impact worldwide. Our therapeutic strengths lie in neuroscience and mental health, cardiovascular and metabolic health and global health. We are committed to research translation and have made major contributions to collaborative drug discovery programs that have progressed more than 30 novel drug candidates into clinical development.
What do we do?
Our expertise lies in the discovery and development of new medicines and in understanding how medicines are best utilised in hospitals, in the community and in specialised settings like aged care.
In spite of huge advances in health care, including the discovery of life saving medicines such as those for high blood pressure, HIV and many bacterial infections, there remain many diseases and conditions that are poorly treated and cause suffering and death around the world. These include recently identified threats such as COVID-19, but also well-known diseases such as cancer, depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, malaria, tuberculosis and many more. These outstanding unmet medical needs drive our researchers every day to seek new medicines and improved treatments to enhance the lives of patients within Australia and across the world.
How does drug discovery work?
At the simplest level drug discovery and development is the science of:
- Identifying a biological process that is changed in disease and that can be altered to reverse the disease process (drug discovery biology)
- Identifying and synthesising molecules that can stimulate this reversal (medicinal chemistry)
- Designing into this molecule the characteristics that also allow it to be absorbed into the body after dosing, avoid breakdown (metabolism) and maintain concentrations in the body for long enough to have the desired effect, and ultimately be safely eliminated (lead optimisation)
- Developing a product (e.g. tablet, capsule, injection, inhaled product) to deliver the molecule to the right place (e.g tumour, lungs, heart) for the right period of time to allow safe, effective, and convenient dosing to patients (drug formulation and delivery).
This process occurs under perhaps the strictest regulatory framework in the world to ensure both safety and efficacy when a new drug is ultimately approved and administered to patients.