Biocatalytic transamination is being established as key tool for the production of chiral amine pharmaceuticals and precursors due to its excellent enantioselectivity as well as green credentials. Recent examples demonstrate the potential for developing economically competitive processes using a combination of modern biotechnological tools for improving the biocatalyst alongside using process engineering and integrated separation techniques for improving productivities. However, many challenges remain in order for the technology to be more widely applicable, such as technologies for obtaining high yields and productivities when the equilibrium of the desired reaction is unfavorable. This review summarizes both the process challenges and the strategies used to overcome them, and endeavors to describe these and explain their applicability based on physiochemical principles. This article also points to the interaction between the solutions and the need for a process development strategy based on fundamental principles. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2011; 108:1479–1493. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.