Pharma Contract Research Organization (CRO) Services Market

Pharma Contract Research Organization (CRO) Services Market by Scale of Operation, Target Therapeutic Areas and Key Geographies: Industry Trends and Global Forecasts, 2021-2030

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Pharma Contract Research Organization (CRO) Services Market Overview

The pharma contract research organization (CRO) services market is estimated to be worth $25 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at CAGR of 10% during the forecast period. Small molecule drugs account for nearly 90% of the contemporary therapeutics pipeline. In 2020, the US FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research approved 35 small molecule drugs, representing 66% of the total number of new molecular entities (NMEs) clearing regulatory review in the same year.  It is worth highlighting that the process of drug development, beginning from the discovery of a pharmacological lead to the commercialization of a clinically validated product, takes around 10-15 years. Moreover, drug discovery and clinical research are capital intensive processes, which, on average, require investments in the range of USD 4-10 billion.

Further, it is a well-known fact that only a small proportion of lead molecules that are shortlisted for further investigation during the discovery phase, actually make it into the clinical phase, and an even lesser number of product candidates enter the market. Therefore, to optimize on internal resource utilization and save costs, innovator companies in the pharmaceutical industry are increasingly outsourcing various aspects of their discovery-stage operations to specialty pharma contract research organization. 

Modern pharma CROs offer a plethora of pharmaceutical discovery (such as target discovery & validation, hit identification (using strategies such as high-throughput screening, fragment-based screening, virtual screening, knowledge-based screening and DNA-encoded libraries), and lead generation / optimization) and product development related services, leveraging a variety of advanced technologies to cater to the evolving needs of sponsors / clients. As indicated earlier, engaging third party service providers offers both time and cost related benefits to drug / therapy developers. Currently, over 500 companies / organization claim to be actively providing contract research services for small molecule drugs.

In the recent past, many of the service providers in this domain forged strategic alliances and / or acquired other players, in order to further enhance their respective service portfolios and thereby, consolidate their presence in the industry. The aforementioned developments may be attributed to the growing preference for one-stop-shops among sponsor companies, and the gradual acceptance of outsourcing as a viable and beneficial operating model. Based on prevalent trends and projections of how the pharmaceutical pipeline is likely to evolve over the coming years, we believe that demand for pharma CRO is going to grow at a steady pace. Consequently, the small molecule drug discovery and development services market is anticipated to witness consistent market growth during the forecast period.

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Top Contract Research Organizations in Pharma Contract Research Organization (CRO) Services Market

Examples of key contract research organizations engaged in pharma contract research organization (CRO) services market (which have also been profiled in this market report; the complete list of companies is available in the full report) include Albany Molecular Research (AMRI), BioDuro, BOC Sciences, Catalent Pharma, Charles River Laboratories, ChemDiv, Covance, Medpace, QPS, Concept Life Sciences, Evotec, ChemPartner, Pharmaron, Syngene, Torrent Pharma and WuXi AppTec. This market report includes an easily searchable excel database of all the companies providing Pharma CRO services, worldwide.

Recent Developments in Pharma Contract Research Organization (CRO) Services Market:

Several recent developments have taken place in the field of pharma contract research organization (CRO) services market. We have outlined some of these recent initiatives below. These developments, even if they took place post the release of our market report, substantiate the overall market trends that have been outlined in our analysis.

  • In September 2023, NanoString announced the expansion of its partnership with contract research organizations making spatial molecular imaging tools widely available to global biopharma researchers. 
  • In August 2023, Kohlberg signed a definitive agreement with an aim to acquire the stake in Worldwide Clinical Trials.

Scope of the Report

The "Pharma Contract Research Organization (CRO) Services Market, 2021-2030" market report features an extensive study on current market landscape, market size, market share, market forecast, market outlook and future opportunities of the pharma contract research organization (CRO) services market. The market research report features in-depth analysis, highlighting the capabilities of various industry stakeholders engaged in pharma contract research organization (CRO) services market.

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Amongst other elements, the market research report includes:

  • A detailed review of the overall landscape of the pharmaceutical services market, highlighting the contributions of Pharma CRO, along with information on their year of establishment, company size, scale of operation (discovery, preclinical and clinical), location of headquarters, type(s) of services offered (target discovery & validation, hit identification, hit-to-lead & lead generation, lead optimization, bioanalytical studies, other preclinical services, clinical trials related services, consulting and regulatory affairs management), hit identification strategy used (high-throughput screening, fragment based screening, virtual screening (structure based virtual screening, ligand based virtual screening and unspecified virtual screening), knowledge based screening, DNA Encoded Library (DEL) based screening and others), type of business model (fee-for-service and full time equivalent) and target therapeutic area. 
  • Elaborate profiles of prominent Pharma CRO engaged in offering pharmaceutical related services. Each company profile features a brief overview of the company, its financial information (if available), service portfolio and recent developments and an informed future outlook.
  • An insightful competitiveness analysis, highlighting prominent pharmaceutical contract service providers based on supplier strength (considering a company's years of experience), and service strength (which takes into account the service offerings, scale of operation, hit identification strategies and subject specific agreements).
  • An analysis of the recent collaborations (signed since 2018) focused on the Pharma CRO offering pharmaceutical related services, based on various parameters, such as year of agreement, type of agreement, scale of operation and target therapeutic area.
  • A detailed analysis of the various mergers and acquisitions that have taken place in pharma contract research organization (CRO) services market, during the period 2018-2021. It is worth mentioning that the data captured during our research was analyzed based on multiple parameters, such as year, type of acquisition and geographical location of the companies.
  • A region-wise, detailed analysis of the total cost of ownership for a pharmaceutical contract research service provider. It features an informed estimate of direct and indirect expenses taking into consideration close to 100 relevant parameters over a span of 20 years.
  • A case study on the current market landscape of biopharmaceutical contract research service providers, including information on the year of establishment, company size, scale of operation and type of services offered.

The key objective of pharma contract research organization (CRO) services market report is to provide a detailed market analysis in order to estimate the existing market size, market value, statistics and future opportunity for pharma contract research organization (CRO) services market during the forecast period. We have provided an informed estimate on the likely evolution of the market in the short to mid-term and long term, for the forecast period 2021-2030. The market report also features the likely distribution of the current and forecasted opportunity across [A] scale of operation (discovery services, preclinical services and clinical stage services), [B] target therapeutic area (cardiovascular disorder, dermatological disorders, infectious disorder, inflammatory disorder, neurological disorder, oncological disorder,  ophthalmological disorder, respiratory disorder and other disorders) and [C] key geographical region (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, MENA (Middle East and North Africa) and rest of the world).  In order to account for future uncertainties and to add robustness to our model, we have provided three market forecast scenarios, namely conservative, base and optimistic scenarios, representing different tracks of the industry's growth. The opinions and insights presented in the market research report were also influenced by discussions held with senior stakeholders in the industry.

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All actual figures have been sourced and analyzed from publicly available information forums and inputs from primary research. Financial figures mentioned in this market research report are in USD, unless otherwise specified.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What is a pharmaceutical CRO?

Answer: A pharmaceutical CRO is a special kind of an organization, offering contract research services to pharmaceutical companies for various kinds of drug components, including small molecules, APIs and excipients.

Question 2: How big is the global pharma CRO services market?

Answer: The global pharma CRO services market size is estimated to be worth $25 billion in 2021.

Question 3: What is the projected market growth of the global pharma CRO services market?

Answer: The global pharma CRO services market is expected to grow at compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10% during the forecast period 2021 – 2030.

Question 4: Who are the top contract research organizations in the pharma CRO services market?

Answer: Examples of key companies engaged in global pharma CRO services market (which have also been profiled in this market report; the complete list of companies is available in the full report) include Albany Molecular Research (AMRI), BioDuro, BOC Sciences, Catalent Pharma, Charles River Laboratories, ChemDiv, Covance, Medpace, QPS, Concept Life Sciences, Evotec, ChemPartner, Pharmaron, Syngene, Torrent Pharma and WuXi AppTec.

Question 5: How many companies are currently engaged in the pharma CRO services market?

Answer: Over 500 companies currently engaged in the CRO services market provide contract research services for small molecules.

Question 6: How many partnership deals have been inked between players engaged in the pharma CRO services market?

Answer: More than 200 partnership deals have been inked between players engaged in the pharma CRO services market, highlighting the consolidation efforts of the players in this field.

Question 7: How many pharma drug candidates are currently being evaluated by the drug developers?

Answer: Over 7,000 drug candidates are currently being evaluated by the drug developers, reflecting opportunity for the pharma CRO services market.

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