The BDDD division explores innovative approaches and technologies oriented towards the early phase of drug development up to the use of these approaches in practice. The focus is on fundamental research into the discovery and design of biopharmaceuticals – over the last decades these medicinal products have grown enormously in importance. Moreover, research is performed on the design and administration of small molecular entities. The division uniquely combines fundamental and translational research on drug safety, targeting, delivery, biopharmacy and pharmacokinetics, from bench to bedside and vice versa. Furthermore, it studies fundamental aspects of biotechnological production processes and the design, application and production of dosage forms. The program is placed in a central position in drug-related research at the University of Groningen, bridging the gap between the fundamental research performed at the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences (FMNS) and the applied research performed at the Medical Faculty.
By the end of 2014, the program included 16 researchers at the PI level (3.81 FTE) and 14 postdocs from four different research groups, and one PI coming from the UMCG hospital pharmacy. Although all researchers are involved in drug development research, they have a diverse background, which reflects the multidisciplinary approach within the program’s research – an approach that is inevitable for obtaining success in modern drug development. The researchers are organized in four research groups, between which intensive collaboration exists. These four research groups are:
- Pharmaceutical Biology studies biological systems. These systems include microbial and plant cells and enzymes as sources of innovative targets and drugs, as well as a means for (bio-)synthesis.
- Pharmaceutical Gene Modulation focuses its activities on the development of advanced therapeutic systems and small molecule drugs for the specific delivery and regulation of genes.
- Pharmacokinetics, Toxicology and Targeting explores innovative drug delivery tools, including nanocarriers, for cell-specific targeting of drugs and therapeutic proteins, their underlying PK-PD and their safety. In addition, innovative methods for ADME and toxicological predictions are developed using human tissue.
- Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmacy performs research on dosage forms and their interaction with the living organism and explores human tissue-based translational models used in drug development.
The major research topics of the program are schematically presented in the figure below, which highlights the fact that the activities in the program cover aspects of both drug discovery as well as drug development. The colors used to describe the topics relate to the various research groups.