© 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved. Critical driver genomic events in colorectal cancer have been shown to affect the response to targeted agents that were initially developed under the 'one gene, one drug' paradigm of precision medicine. Our current knowledge of the complexity of the cancer genome, clonal evolution patterns under treatment pressure and pharmacodynamic effects of target inhibition support the transition from a one gene, one drug approach to a 'multi-gene, multi-drug' model when making therapeutic decisions. Better characterization of the transcriptomic subtypes of colorectal cancer, encompassing tumour, stromal and immune components, has revealed convergent pathway dependencies that mandate a 'multi-molecular' perspective for the development of therapies to treat this disease.