The expansion of the biologics pipeline depends on the identification of candidate proteins for clinical trials. Speed is one of the critical issues, and the rapid production of high quality, research-grade material for preclinical studies by transient gene expression (TGE) is addressing this factor in an impressive way: following DNA transfection, the production phase for TGE is usually 2-10 days. Recombinant proteins (r-proteins) produced by TGE can therefore enter the drug development and screening process in a very short time--weeks. With "classical" approaches to protein expression from mammalian cells, it takes months to establish a productive host cell line. This article summarizes efforts in industry and academia to use TGE to produce tens to hundreds of milligrams of r-proteins for either fundamental research or preclinical studies.