The Joint European Compound Library (JECL) is a new high-throughput screening collection aimed at driving precompetitive drug discovery and target validation. The JECL has been established with a core of over 321000 compounds from the proprietary collections of seven pharmaceutical companies and will expand to around 500000 compounds. Here, we analyse the physicochemical profile and chemical diversity of the core collection, showing that the collection is diverse and has a broad spectrum of predicted biological activity. We also describe a model for sharing compound information from multiple proprietary collections, enabling diversity and quality analysis without disclosing structures. The JECL is available for screening at no cost to European academic laboratories and SMEs through the IMI European Lead Factory (http://www.europeanleadfactory.eu/).