The global contract research organization (CRO) market has resumed its upward growth trajectory after the recent economic downturn and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5 percent until 2017. Although the recent economic predicament resulted in a severe decline in growth in the U.S. and western European markets, the emerging markets and lower-cost locations benefited from increased outsourcing.
Access to a diverse and large untapped patient population is driving the demand for global trials. R&D spend is expected to remain high due to the rapid expansion of the biotechnology industry. The future outlook for CROs is formidable, driven by a demand upsurge for services across tiers and strong request for proposals (RFPs) from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Productivity benefits have helped stoke market growth.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan’s (pharma.frost.com) Global CRO Market: Quantitative Assessment research finds that the market earned revenue of $21.42 billion in 2010 and estimates this to reach $43.09 billion in 2017.
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“Cost pressure on pharmaceutical margins is a key driver for outsourcing,” said a Frost & Sullivan senior industry analyst. “CROs enable outsourcing companies (pharmaceutical and biotechnology) to convert their fixed costs of building and maintaining facilities into variable costs.”
The global CRO market is experiencing two-tiered growth from “Big Pharma,” which is outsourcing work to CROs to lower fixed costs, while biotechnology and specialty pharmaceutical companies outsource work to CROs due to the lack of infrastructure. Demand for functional services, such as data management, consulting, logistics, translation, regulatory, and consulting, is experiencing strong growth.
Although the market is progressing steadily, there are some aspects clouding its landscape. Large-scale consolidation in the Big Pharma space is likely to have a negative impact on growth as witnessed in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Apart from this, as trials become more global and continue to grow in complexity, there is rising competition for access to patients, new investigators, and new studies. The gap between patient access and studies has been growing consistently over the past decade and could affect future studies. For studies that depend heavily on emerging markets, this can lower productivity by extending the trial times. Also, an underlying mix in existing investigators is further causing this divide to widen.
CROs and sponsors continue to grapple with the situation and are continuing to seek new ways to increase access to patients. CROs and service providers are looking to counter this challenge by partnering with patient recruitment firms. Service providers are also outsourcing large-scale global trials through the expanded reach of CRO partners, which enables access to an extensive patient pool.
“Trends indicate that the growth rate of spending for biotech CROs is expected to continue outpacing that for pharma CROs,” said the senior industry analyst. “Specialty CRO services are increasingly being positioned to cater to biotechnology because of synergies in the business models.”
Global CRO Market: Quantitative Assessment is part of the Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology Growth Partnership Service program, which also includes research in the following markets: U.S. Contract Research Organizations Markets, Global CRO Spending Trends, Global Biopharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing Market, and Strategic Analysis of Opportunities in the CRO Market – Phase 0. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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Global CRO Market: Quantitative Assessment / N8B6