In this article, Laia Pedro-Roig and Christoph Emmerich discuss ways and measures how preclinical research and development (especially in its confirmatory phase) would benefit from adapting some of the internationally accepted quality standards and principles used in clinical research. In contrast to clinical research, with generally high quality standards in place, quality standards and good practices are often not well defined for different preclinical in vitro methods and in vivo models, and not harmonised amongst preclinical research laboratories. This results in poorly reliable literature, has a negative impact on the bench-to-bedside time for new drugs, and increases the resources needed for clinical development.