Abstract Arguably, the most immediately promising reverberation of the genomics era has been the application of biomarkers to drug development. The promise of applying biomarkers to early drug development is that they might aid in preclinical and early clinical decisions such as dose ranging, definition of treatment regimen, or even a preview of efficacy. Later in the clinic, biomarkers could be used to facilitate patient stratification, selection and the description of surrogate endpoints. Information derived from biomarkers should result in a better understanding of preclinical and clinical data, which ultimately benefits patients and drug developers. If the promise of biomarkers is realized, they will become a routine component of drug development and companions to newly discovered therapies.