During the first week of December 2007, the European Federation for Pharmaceutical Sciences (EUFEPS) and BioSim, the major European Network of Excellence on Systems Biology, held a challenging conference on the use of mathematical models in the drug development process. More precisely, the purpose of the conference was to promote the 'Integration of Systems Approaches into Pharmaceutical Sciences' in view of optimising the development of new effective drugs. And a challenge this is, considering both the high attrition rates in the pharmaceutical industry and the failure of finding definitive drug solutions for many of the diseases that plague mankind today. The conference was co-sponsored by the American College of Clinical Pharmacology, the European Center for Pharmaceutical Medicine, and the Swiss Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences and, besides representatives from the European Regulatory Agencies and FDA, the meeting was attended by 75 industrial and some 45 academic participants. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.