The purpose of this review is to highlight the pharmacological barrier to drug development for traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to discuss best practice strategies to overcome such barriers. Specifically, this article will review the pharmacological considerations of moving from the disease target “hit” to the “lead” compound with drug-like and central nervous system (CNS) penetrant properties. In vitro assessment of drug-like properties will be detailed, followed by pre-clinical studies to ensure adequate pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic characteristics of response. The importance of biomarker development and utilization in both pre-clinical and clinical studies will be detailed, along with the importance of identifying diagnostic, pharmacodynamic/response, and prognostic biomarkers of injury type or severity, drug target engagement, and disease progression. This review will detail the important considerations in determining in vivo pre-clinical dose selection, as well as cross-species and human equivalent dose selection. Specific use of allometric scaling, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic criteria, as well as incorporation of biomarker assessments in human dose selection for clinical trial design will also be discussed. The overarching goal of this review is to detail the pharmacological considerations in the drug development process as a method to improve both pre-clinical and clinical study design as we evaluate novel therapies to improve outcomes in patients with TBI.