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Drug development is a long, costly and risky process. It has been estimated that the research needed to develop a new drug lasts between 12 and 14 years, at a cost of more than 1000 million euros. The early stage of drug discovery, which represents the first 3-4 years, aims to identify the best possible candidate molecules for further testing in preclinical stages taking into consideration the predicted efficacy as well as safety and pharmacokinetics while trying to minimize the possibility of failure of the drug at the clinical stage.
In November 2009, the Spanish Technology Platform for Innovative Medicines (PTEMI) in collaboration with the BioFarma research group of the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) elaborated the Guide to Centres for Early Drug Discovery. The Guide was up-dated in 2016 as part of an activity undertaken by the Spanish Drug Discovery Network (SDDN), the PTEMI and the BioFarma research group (USC).