The pharmaceutical industry adapted proteomics and other 'omics technologies for drug research early following their initial introduction. Although metabolomics lacked behind in this development, it has now become an accepted and widely applied approach in early drug development. Over the past few decades, metabolomics has evolved from a pure exploratory tool to a more mature and quantitative biochemical technology. Several metabolomics-based platforms are now applied during the early phases of drug discovery. Metabolomics analysis assists in the definition of the physiological response and target engagement (TE) markers as well as elucidation of the mode of action (MoA) of drug candidates under investigation. In this review, we highlight recent examples and novel developments of metabolomics analyses applied during early drug development.