Malaria is a devastating disease caused by Plasmodium parasites, resulting in approximately 435000 deaths in 2018. The impact of malaria is compounded by the emergence of widespread resistance to current antimalarial therapies. Recently, a new strategy was initiated to screen small molecule collections against the Plasmodium parasite enabling the identification of new antimalarial chemotypes with novel modes of action. This initiative ushered in the modern era of antimalarial drug development, and as a result, numerous lead candidates are advancing toward or are currently in human clinical trials. In this Perspective, we describe the development pathway of four of the most clinically advanced modern antimalarials, KAE609, KAF156, DSM265, and MMV048. Additionally, the mechanism of action and life–cycle stage specificity of the four antimalarials is discussed in relation to aligning with global strategies to treat and eliminate malaria. This perspective serves as a guide to the expectations of modern antimalarial drug development.