For drug companies large and small that are running clinical trials, it’s often essential to outsource some or even all a trial’s functions to third-party vendors. And with clinical trials expected to grow in number and complexity, those vendors are expected to grow in tandem.
The global market for contract research organizations, or CROs, is expected to reach $57 billion by 2024, according to a research report released Monday by Market Research Engine, assuming a 7.4 percent annual growth rate. CROs provide services such as clinical trial site selection and monitoring, handling clinical trial data, consulting and others. CROs differ from contract manufacturing organizations, or CMOs, which only handle manufacturing services.
The report attributed the anticipated growth to intensifying demand for new therapies and devices putting pressure on manufacturers’ research and development budgets, along with the increasing complexity of clinical trials and the regulations that govern them.
IQVIA, PAREXEL, PRA Health Sciences, PPD, Charles River, WuXi Pharmatech and MeDPAce Holdings are some of the world’s largest players and usually provide the full range of services. Other CROs may concentrate on specific geographic markets, disease areas or types of services. IQVIA is the largest player in the global market, accounting for 12.4 percent of the global share, according to another report, released last month by Report Linker. IQVIA’s revenues in the second quarter of 2018 reached nearly $2.6 billion, a 9 percent increase over second quarter 2017, according to financial results released in July.
North America accounts for a majority of the global market, according to Report Linker’s research. In its summary, Report Linker estimated that CRO services in North America are worth about $18.8 billion, accounting for 42.3 percent of the global total.
The industry has also seen significant merger and acquisition activity among some of its largest players in the last several years. In July 2017, LabCorp acquired CRO Chiltern for $1.2 billion, incorporating it into its Covance segment, itself the result of LabCorp’s $6.2 billion acquisition of Covance in 2015. In May of 2017, INC Research and inVentiv Health merged to form Syneos Health in a $4.6 billion deal. Meanwhile, IQVIA is the result of a 2016 merger between CRO Quintiles Transnational Holdings and drug market research firm IMS Health valued at about $9 billion.
Photo: Topp_YimGrimm, Getty Images