Course Identification

Chemistry module: Introduction to medicinal chemistry

Lecturers and Teaching Assistants

Prof. Abraham Nudelman

Course Schedule and Location

First Semester
Tuesday, 16:30 - 18:00, Musher, Lab 1

Field of Study, Course Type and Credit Points

Science Teaching (non thesis MSc Track): Lecture; Obligatory; Regular; 4.00 points
Science Teaching: Lecture; Elective; Regular; 4.00 points


1st year + 2nd year


Basic course in chemistry and in particular organic chemsitry


For students in the Rothschild-Weizmann program only

Language of Instruction


Attendance and participation

Required in at least 80% of the lectures

Grade Type

Numerical (out of 100)

Grade Breakdown (in %)


Evaluation Type

Final assignment

Scheduled date 1


Estimated Weekly Independent Workload (in hours)



The main goal of the course is to introduce the students to the basic terminology of medicinal chemistry and drugs development. Particular emphasis will be placed on the description of the mechanisms by which various drugs work.


   a) Drugs

   b) Receptors: General considerations

   c) Stereochemistry

   d) Structure Activity Relationships (SAR's)

   e) Absorption, Distribution and Elimination of Drugs – Lipinski Rules

   f) Drug Delivery through the blood-brain barrier (BBB)

   g) Drug Metabolism

   h) Drug Toxicity

   i) Drug Tolerance and Addiction

   j) Pro-Drugs, Soft-Drugs, and Hard-Drugs

   k) Patents in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Antimicrobial Agents and Antibiotics

1)    Penicillins, Cephalosporins, beta-Lactamase Inhibitors

2)    Vancomycin

 Anticancer Agents

1)    Alkylating Agents: N-Mustards, Nitrosoureas, Pt complexes, Mitomycin

2)    Antimetabolites: 5-FU, Methotrexate, Ara-C,  Mercaptopurine

3)    Intercalators: Actinomycin D, Adriamycin, and Daunomycin

4)    Epothilones

5)    Antiestrogens – Tamoxifen

6)    Miscellaneous Antitumor Agents: Etoposide, Taxol 

7)    Bisphosphonates


   a) General

   b) Local

 Hypnotics and Sedatives

   a) Alcohol

   b) Barbiturates

   c) Benzodiazepines

   d) Drugs of abuse

Neuropharmacological Agents

a) Adrenergics: Epinephrine, norepinephrine, isoproterenol, metaproterenol, salbutamol

b) Stimulants - Amphetamines and anorexics

c) Artificial sweeteners

  1) Saccharin

  2) Maltitol, xylitol

  3) Acesulfame K

  4) Cyclamates

  5) Aspartame

  6) Sucralose

d) Cholinergics and anticholinesterases

e) Choline esterase inhibitors - Nerve gases

f) Cholinesterase reactivators

 Histamine, H-1 and H-2 Antihistamines



   1) Salicylates - Aspirin

   2) Fenamates

   3) Indomethacin 

   4) Phenyl propionic Acids

   5) Enolic and other acidic agents

   6) Cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitors

 Antifungal Agents

     Ergosterol inhibitors

     Amphotericin B

     Diazoles, triazoles



    Caffeine, theophylline, theobromine

 Thyroid Hormones

    T3 and T4

 Topical Drugs

1)    Sun blockers

2)    Insect repellants 

3)    5-Aminolevulinic acid photodynamic therapy (PDT)

 Hormones and Steroids.

1)    Gluco- and mineralocorticoids – Cortisone

2)    Estrogens and progestins. The Pill.

3)    Antiestrogens

4)    Aromatase inhibitors

5)    Bisphosphonates

6)    Androgens - DHT inhibitors 

7)    Viagra

 Cardiovascular Drugs

a) Cardiac Glycosides 

b) Nitrites and Nitrates - Nitroglycerine

c) b-Blockers - Propranolol

d) Calcium-Blockers – Dihydropyridines, Diltiazem, Verapamil

e) Antihypertensive Agents 

1.    ACE inhibitors – “Prils”

2.    Non-peptide Angiotensin II inhibitors – “Sartans”

3.    Clonidine

4.    Drugs affecting the Nor-Epi pathway

f) Cholesterol

             Antilipidemic and Anticholesterolemic agents: Vile acid sequestrants, Gemfibrozil

            HMG-CoA-Reductase inhibitors: “Statins”

 Major Analgesics

            1) Morphinoids: Morphine, Heroin

            2) Antitussive Agents - Codeine

            3) Enkephalins and Endorphins

            4) Cannabinoids: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol

 Antimicrobial Agents and Antibiotics

1.    Sulfanilamides

2.    Fluoroquinolones

3.    Miscellaneous Antibiotics 

4.    Linezolid

5.    Bacterial resistance


             a) Phenytoin

             b) Valproic acid

 b) Valproic acid

 Antipsychotic Agents

 a) Tricyclic antidepressants – Typical and atypical antipsychotics

 b) Non-Tricyclic antidepressants

 c) Prozac

Drug Delivery Systems- Prodrugs (PD's)

             1) PD's Introduction

 2) First Pass Metabolism

 3) Toxicity

 4) Hard-Drugs

 5) Ester PD's

 6) Acyloxyalkyl ester PD's

 7) Carbamate PD's

 8) Water Solubilization via PD's 

 9) Soft-Drugs

10) N-Mannic bases 

11) Amides as amine PD's  

12) N-Hydroxymethyl PD

13) Site-specific drug delivery


15) Ring-opened PD's

16) Mutual PD's 

17) Multi-pharmacophores


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course- students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in a large variety of drugs and recognize their clinical use from their basic structures and names.
  2. Describe drugs' mechanisms of action, the diseases against which the compounds are used, possible side effects, and drug interactions.
  3. Explain basic principles of toxicology, structure-activity relationships, and drug design.

Reading List

List of suggested literature will be presented in the first lecture