Contract Research Organization (CRO) Services Market projected to expand at a high CAGR of 8% during 2019-2027

Contract Research Organization (CRO) Services Market: Introduction

According to the report, the global contract research organization (CRO) services market was valued at ~US$ 49 Bn in 2018 and is projected to expand at a high CAGR of 8% during the forecast period. Contract research organizations are engaged in offering a range of research services on a contract basis to pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology companies. The global contract research organization (CRO) services market is driven by increase in the penetration of CROs, globalization of clinical trials, rise in spending on research and development (R&D), and growth in the number of clinical trials being conducted worldwide. North America dominated the global contract research organization (CRO) services market in 2018 and the trend is anticipated to continue during the forecast period. Strong growth of the market in the region can be attributed to increase in the number of clinical trials and rise in the demand for biosimilars, owing to patent expiry, which fuels the demand for rapid conduction of trials and regulatory approvals. This prompts pharmaceutical manufacturers to approach CROs, thereby boosting the global contract research organization (CRO) services market.

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Increase in Penetration of CROs

Demand for contract research organizations (CROs) has been increasing across all stages of research and development, from early stage development to late stage development and central laboratory services, over the last few years. This increase in the demand can be attributed to rise in patent expiry of major drugs, leading to growing focus of large biopharmaceutical companies on research and development. Moreover, increase in costs of research and development, rise in the demand for innovation in the research process, and the ability to achieve enhanced efficiencies by using scientific and therapeutic expertise of CROs have been contributing to rise in the penetration of CROs over the last few years. Adoption of CROs for clinical services increased to around 47% in 2018 from over 40% in 2015. The overall penetration of CROs, including preclinical and clinical services, reached over 40% in 2018 from 25% in 2015.

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Rise in R&D Spending

Drug research and development costs are significantly high. These costs have been increasing consistently over the last few years. In 2017, the cost of manufacturing a new molecule entity (NME) was estimated to range between US$ 2 Bn and US$ 3.5 Bn. Furthermore, the total research and development spending is anticipated to increase at a rate of 2%–3% by 2020, primarily driven by significant unmet needs and significant technological advancements.

The surge in research and development costs has prompted various biopharmaceutical companies to outsource their research process to CROs, which ranges from target validation and lead optimization to animal testing and human clinical trials. R&D spending on oncology has been increasing significantly over the last few years, which has fueled the need for outsourcing of R&D activities. Consequently, a CRO called XenTech increased its production capacity for animal care products to over 50% along with rise in its collaborative research projects. This significant increase in R&D spending and rise in the demand for outsourcing of R&D activities fuel the global contract research organization (CRO) services market.

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Strategic Acquisitions by Key Players to Propel Global Market

The global contract research organization (CRO) services market is consolidated, in terms of number of players. Key players operating in the global contract research organization (CRO) services market are Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, IQVIA Inc., Syneos Health, Inc., Parexel International Corporation, PRA Health Sciences, Inc., PPD, Inc., Charles River Laboratories, Inc., Icon plc, WuXi AppTec Group, and Medpace.

These players have adopted various strategies such as acquisitions and partnerships to expand their portfolio of services as well as geographical presence. In June 2019, LabCorp’s Covance drug development segment completed the acquisition of Envigo’s nonclinical contract research services business. This acquisition enabled the former to increase its global nonclinical drug development capabilities. As a part of this move, Envigo acquired Covance’s research models & services business, leading to establishment of an organization dedicated to offering a complete range of research models.

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