All it takes is one molecule to create a new medicine.

It sounds simple, but it’s a complex process. From drug discovery to your medicine cabinet, it takes between 10 to 15 years and about $2.6 billion of research and development spending to create an innovative medicine.

During preclinical research, pharmaceutical researchers isolate between 5,000 to 10,000 compounds for potential new medicines, selecting only about 250 to test in the next phase. This process can take between three to six years to complete. In the second phase, researchers further narrowed their selection for an in-depth clinical investigation. After the investigation is complete, clinical trials can begin.

The entire process of completing all three phases of research takes thousands of volunteers, scientists, doctors and researchers. There are no guarantees of success. When clinical trials don’t show promise, researchers go back to the drawing board. When they are successful, it can take another 2 years for a new medicine to receive regulatory approvals, to be manufactured and finally delivered to patients.