Strategic, feasibility, economic, and cultural aspects of phase 0 approaches: Is it time to change the drug development process in order to increase productivity?

Clin Transl Sci. 2022 Jun;15(6):1355-1379. doi: 10.1111/cts.13269. Epub 2022 Apr 21.


Research conducted over the past 2 decades has enhanced the validity and expanded the applications of microdosing and other phase 0 approaches in drug development. Phase 0 approaches can accelerate drug development timelines and reduce attrition in clinical development by increasing the quality of candidates entering clinical development and by reducing the time to "go-no-go" decisions. This can be done by adding clinical trial data (both healthy volunteers and patients) to preclinical candidate selection, and by applying methodological and operational advantages that phase 0 have over traditional approaches. The main feature of phase 0 approaches is the limited, subtherapeutic exposure to the test article. This means a reduced risk to research volunteers, and reduced regulatory requirements, timelines, and costs of first-in-human (FIH) testing. Whereas many operational aspects of phase 0 approaches are similar to those of other early phase clinical development programs, they have some unique strategic, regulatory, ethical, feasibility, economic, and cultural aspects. Here, we provide a guidance to these operational aspects and include case studies to highlight their potential impact in a range of clinical development scenarios.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Development*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Research Design*