The gauntlet of drug development is a use of "Running the gauntlet."
‘Run the gauntlet’ has become a well-known phrase today. This phrase is actually inspired from the Native American ritual of ‘Gauntlet’.
Gauntlet is a ritual which was performed to punish the guilty member of a tribe for some crime he or she had committed. In this ritual, two rows of warriors stood facing each other and holding sticks.
The guilty person had to run between the rows. As he or she ran, the warriors on both sides whipped the person with sticks as punishment for their crimes.
End of reference.
There was also a tradition of American Indians using a milder form of the process to initiate a new member, perhaps even captured, into the tribe. Beating them as they ran the length of the row was to get out any and all the anger or resistance the members had to the new individual. When they completed the challenge they were helped and injuries looked after as they were now part of the group. Still looking for reference.