In recent years, tools for the development of new drugs have been dramatically improved. These include genomic and proteomic research, numerous biophysical methods, combinatorial chemistry and screening technologies. In addition, early ADMET studies are employed in order to significantly reduce the failure rate in the development of drug candidates. As a consequence, the lead finding, lead optimization and development process has gained marked enhancement in speed and efficiency. In parallel to this development, major pharma companies are increasingly outsourcing many components of drug discovery research to biotech companies. All these measures are designed to address the need for a faster time to market. New screening methodologies have contributed significantly to the efficiency of the drug discovery process. The conventional screening of single compounds or compound libraries has been dramatically accelerated by high throughput screening methods. In addition, in silico screening methods allow the evaluation of virtual compounds. A wide range of new lead finding and lead optimization opportunities result from novel screening methods by NMR, which are the topic of this review article.