LC / MS / MS based bioanalysis using atmospheric pressure ionization (API)-style interfaces has now been applied for over a decade. This technology, which initially found application for clinical bioanalysis, is now firmly established as the primary bioanalytical tool for ADME studies related to drug discovery and lead optimization (LO). This review focuses on recent advances in LC / MS / MS based bioanalysis in support of drug discovery and LO. The initial part of the article reviews the principal components of LC / MS / MS bioanalysis: sample preparation, chromatography, ionization and mass analysis. In each section, factors affecting high throughput bioanalysis are addressed. Because of the importance of on-line column switching methods to discovery bioanalysis, the section on sample preparation is divided into off-line and on-line approaches. In addition, the discussion of chromatography is limited to reversed phase liquid chromatography with emphasis given to the trend towards high-flow gradient elution techniques. The latter part of the review focuses on considerations for experimental design. In this section, pooling methods such as cassette dosing are discussed along with more highly integrated strategies linking bioanalysis with protocol generation and sample collection. The article concludes by briefly reviewing factors, which affect bioanalytical precision and accuracy, such as ion suppression, analyte stability and metabolite interference.