Structure-based drug design (SBDD) has played an integral role in the development of highly specific, potent protease inhibitors resulting in a number of drugs in clinical trials and on the market. Possessing biochemical assays and structural information on both the target protease and homologous family members helps ensure compound selectivity. We have redesigned the path from clone to protein eliminating many of the traditional bottlenecks associated with protein production to ensure a constant supply to feed many diverse protease drug discovery programs. The process was initiated with the design of a multi-system vector, capable of expression in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic hosts; this vector also facilitated high-throughput cloning, expression and purification. When combined into an expression screen, supplemented with salvage screens for detergent extraction and refolding, a route for protein production was established rapidly. Using this process-orientated approach we have successfully expressed and purified all mechanistic classes of active human and viral proteases for enzymatic assays and crystallization studies. While exploiting recent developments in high-throughput biochemistry, we still employ classical biophysical techniques such as light-scattering and analytical ultracentrifugation, to ensure the highest quality protein enters crystallization trials. We have drawn on examples from our own research programs to illustrate how these strategies have been successfully used in the production of proteases for SBDD.