Value through Innovation11 February 2016

From Curiosity to Discovery

From initial discovery to a marketable medicine is a long, challenging road. It takes about 12 - 15 years from discovery to the approved medication and requires an investment of about US $1 billion. On average, from more than a million screened molecules only one is investigated in late stage clinical trials and is finally made available for patients.

The Drug Discovery & Development Process

Research is the key to innovation: to achieve the goal of a healthier future, Boehringer Ingelheim researches and develops new medicines. There is a long way to go until patients can benefit from our new products. Did you know that The necessary steps from research to approval might take up to twelve years? Take a look at how we research and develop new medicines.

Development of a Medicine

Overview of the process steps


  • Target identification and validation
  • Assay development
  • Lead identification
  • Lead optimisation
  • Pre-development


  • Preclinical development
  • Clinical research phase I to phase III


  • Regulatory approval
  • Phase IV (Life cycle management)

Research Areas

Research Areas

Our drug discovery focuses on seven major therapeutic areas.

Centres and Technologies

Research Centres

We maintain R&D sites, support centres and Global Skill Centres.