Chronic airway diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), together with their comorbidities, bear a significant burden on public health. Increased appreciation of molecular networks underlying inflammatory airway disease needs to be translated into new therapies for distinct phenotypes not controlled by current treatment regimens. On the other hand, development of new safe and effective therapies for such respiratory diseases is an arduous and expensive process. Antibody-based (biological) therapies are successful in treating certain respiratory conditions not controlled by standard therapies such as severe allergic and refractory eosinophilic severe asthma, while in other inflammatory respiratory diseases, such as COPD, biologicals are having a more limited impact. Small molecule drug (SMD)-based therapies represent an active field in pharmaceutical research and development. SMDs expand biologicals' therapeutic targets by reaching the intracellular compartment by delivery as either an oral or topically based formulation, offering both convenience and lower costs. Aim of this review was to compare and contrast the distinct pharmacological properties and clinical applications of SMDs- and antibody-based treatment strategies, their limitations and challenges, in order to highlight how they should be integrated for their optimal utilization and to fill the critical gaps in current treatment for these chronic inflammatory respiratory diseases.