PHM320 Organic and Medicinal Agents (16)

This subject covers the application of principles and methods of chemical analysis of drugs. Major areas include, chemical analysis, diagnostic applications and receptor structure and drug binding. It covers the medicinal chemistry of a wide range of current therapeutic agents and provides the basis for an understanding of the principles and techniques for development of future drugs.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


Session 1 (30)
On Campus
Orange Campus
Wagga Wagga Campus
Session 2 (60)
On Campus
Orange Campus
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: PHM320. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



Two sessions


School of Biomedical Sciences



Incompatible Subjects

PHM322, PHM323

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to describe the structure of drug receptors and the forces involved in the binding of drugs to receptors;
  • be able to demonstrate developing abilities in the areas of measurement and recording of data relevant to the understanding of drug structure and reactivity;
  • be able to identify the chemical principles underlying selected diagnostic aids relevant to pharmacy;
  • be able to demonstrate competence in the use of spectroscopic methods to analyse and determine the structure of drugs;
  • be able to demonstrate an appreciation of the processes involved in rational drug design;
  • be able to demonstrate understanding of the relationship between chemical structure and biological activity of drugs or endogenous substances;
  • be able to describe the mechanisms of drug action at a molecular level;
  • be able to demonstrate understanding of the rationale behind the chemical manipulation of drugs to devise alternative forms of drug presentation;
  • be able to demonstrate understanding of the principles and applications of pharmacognosy in drug development;
  • be able to demonstrate understanding of the chemical-pharmacological basis for selected herbal remedies.


This subject will cover the following topics:

* rational structurally-based and mechanism-based approaches to drug design;
* drug structure, reactivity and metabolism;
* introduction to the basis of and applications for infra-red, ultra-violet, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and mass spectrometry;
* sampling techniques and analytical testing; spectroscopy and chromatography;
* structure and bonding in biological macromolecules;
* the use of enzyme inhibitors as drugs with focus on NSAIDS and antihypertensives;
* the medicinal chemistry of a broad range of therapeutic agents.
* pharmacognosy: methods of extraction, preparation and analysis of drugs from natural sources;
* selected herbal remedies;
* structure-activity relationships and molecular conformation in CNS active drugs with special reference to opioids, antidepressants and anticonvulsants;
* structure and function of selected steroids;
* structure-activity relationships and mechanisms of antimicrobial agents;
* antineoplastic drugs.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.