As payers balk at rising drug prices and patent expirations threaten the industry’s revenue streams, pharmaceutical companies worldwide are looking for ways to cut costs associated with drug development and, simultaneously, speed the process up. It might seem natural to focus first on phase III trials, where the bulk of development costs are incurred. But in many cases the smartest move is to invest in intelligent early-stage development; after all, better phase I and II studies set the stage for more productive and successful phase III trials, and thus, a higher return on investment.