How we discover new medicines

Creating a new medicine is a long and rigorous process, and it can take up to 15 years to progress from a promising idea in the research laboratory to a medicine receiving approval from regulators. We might investigate 5,000 or more different chemicals to identify just one that can be tested in humans.

We begin the search for a new medicine by looking into what processes in the body lead to a disease or create the symptoms. This starting point is based on both our own research and broader knowledge within the scientific community.

Developing a new treatment typically goes through seven stages from laboratory to patient:

Timeline and development stages for pharmaceutical research