The biopharmaceutical companies involved in developing drugs for human diseases are facing considerable challenges, both politically and fiscally. There is growing pressure from the general public, funding agencies, and policymakers for scientists and industry to improve the drug development process, better bridge basic and translational human studies, and ultimately improve the process of the development of more effective, safer, and less costly drugs.

The crisis involving the scale of the reproducibility and translatability of preclinical research to human studies and high attrition rate of drug development process is widely recognized in both academia and industry. Despite all this, the high attrition rates of drug development and the magnitude of the reproducibility and translatability problems with the preclinical research findings to human studies remain a fact.

Recent reports in the literature suggest that many published preclinical research findings are misleading, not as robust as they claim, or cannot be reproduced and hence cannot be translated to human studies. The reasons are complex and challenging. Potential culprits range from the complexity of modern biomedical research to the limitations of tools, trivial methodological differences, poor experimental designs, inappropriate data analysis, misuse of statistics to the poor predictability of animal results in humans as well as to training and perverse incentives in academia.

Many reports suggest solutions to overcome these roadblocks in biomedical research. However, how scientists, researchers, and the biopharmaceutical industry deal with this problem depends on the understanding of the root causes of the problem and the strategies and approaches to solving this problem to improve biomedical research.

This section presents a thorough literature review evaluating the nature of some of the problems leading to the high attrition rates of drug development and provides some suggestions to overcome the obstacles that impede the drug development process.