Animal models can provide invaluable information to our knowledge of biology and medicine, including the discovery and development of new drugs. At present the overall success rate of drugs during clinical development remains rather low and one commonly raised explanation is flawed preclinical research in animal models. This is especially true in therapeutic areas in which animal models of human diseases are particularly challenging. Based on these assumptions, better design and conduct as well as further development of animal models is certainly essential. The short course highlights, with discussion of successful and unsucceful case studies, the current challenges and limitations of selected animal models and points at aspects which may be relevant for improving the translational value of such models in drug discovery.