The global healthcare contract research organization market size was valued at USD 37.1 billion in 2019 and is expected to register a CAGR of 6.6% over the forecast period. Increasing investment in R&D programs, preference for outsourcing activities due to time and cost constraints, and patent expiration in the healthcare sector are key factors anticipated to drive the market in the coming years. Contract research outsourcing collaborations offer cutting-edge services and thus government organizations prefer assigning projects to contract research organizations (CROs), thereby facilitating market demand.
Increasing pressure on drug developers pertaining to clinical data management, regulatory environments, and stringent safety standards is expected to drive demand for contract research organizations within the healthcare sector. Models such as transactional relationships, FSP/Multi-FSP, and alliances are prevalent in this market space and are being adopted by drug developers.
Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies are not only outsourcing the production of medicines but also their clinical trials. With increasing clinical trial privatization, there is a surge in outsourcing to developing countries. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have started outsourcing R&D activities that complex and require regular monitoring. Healthcare CROsfunction and manage the processes of bringing new products in the market, as per the timeline given by the client. They have the required expertise and infrastructure that provides the benefit of cost, time, and efficiency at the same time. Emerging economies such as Japan, India, and China are preferred for outsourcing activities.
Many healthcare contract research organizations are now forming alliances to enhance their market presence by offering services across an extensive market space and improve client-contractor relationship. For instance, in 2018, IQVIA formed an alliance with Box. This alliance is anticipated to help the company deliver cloud-based content management solutions to healthcare and life science companies. In addition to collaborations, key players are in the process of acquiring other contract research organizations to gain leverage. For instance, in 2016, Charles River Laboratory International, Inc. acquired WIL Research for nearly USD 585 million. This acquisition is expected to help the company gain a foothold in the healthcare sector, particularly in the early-stage drug discovery business.
The healthcare contract research organization market has been segmented into drug discovery, pre-clinical, and clinical service. Drug discovery is further segmented into target validation, lead identification, and lead optimization. Clinical services dominated the market in 2019 and comprise Phase I, Phase II, Phase III, and Phase IV trial services. Outsourcing of Phase III trials to healthcare contract research organizations generated the highest revenue in 2019 due to the fact that they are one of the most expensive stages of a clinical trial; approximately 90.0% of the expenses occurred during the clinical development of a drug stems from this phase.
In October 2015, Quintiles formed an alliance with IMS Health to access Phase-IV data approval for clinical research. The access to IMS Health Real-World Evidence (RWE) information contains data of 400 patients, to be used by Quintiles for post-approval studies. This collaboration was aimed to provide a cutting-edge advantage for CROs performing phase IV studies.
The healthcare CRO market is classified by service into project management/clinical supply management, data management, regulatory/medical affairs, medical writing, clinical monitoring, quality management/ assurance, bio-statistics, investigator payments, laboratory patient, site recruitment technology, and others. Clinical monitoring services offered by healthcare contract research organizations held the largest market share in 2019 while regulatory/medical affairs are expected to grow at a rapid pace during the forecast period.
Clinical research is being outsourced to CROs over the past decade due to various reasons such as cost-effectiveness and technical expertise. The introduction of smart analytics along with real-time data acquisition devices are estimated to improve clinical monitoring data in the healthcare sector. Real-time data acquisition related to drug safety and toxicity enables early identification of trial errors and enables timely rectifications such as trial re-design or termination, thereby propelling segment growth. Furthermore, healthcare regulatory bodies demand detailed methodologies and results for approval, adding to the tediousness of the process. In addition, there is increased awareness among payers who demand information about the biologics of a new drug. These trends are challenging for healthcare companies and contract research organizations provide an extensive range of solutions to these hurdles.
The North America market for healthcare contract research organizations held a substantial share in 2019, owing to the highest number of trials undertaken and outsourced in the region. In addition, growing government support for R&D activities through grants and funds to research institutes and companies has driven this regional market. For instance, in January 2015, the U.S government announced an investment of USD 215.0 million for precision medicine initiative. The investment is for the NIH, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the FDA.
Asia Pacific held the largest share in the healthcare CRO market in 2019 and is anticipated to grow at a rapid pace over the forecast period owing to availability of diverse population, high prevalence of chronic conditions, easy patient recruitment and retention, and establishment of regulations as per accepted standards. Clinical trials in India are regulated by the Central Drug Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and other local authorities. In February 2018, CDSCO drafted new rules that are estimated to reduce the time required for approval to nearly 30-60 days, thus propelling the market growth.
Some of the factors responsible for the rapid growth of the Asia market are increasing interest of healthcare companies in developed economies to explore new opportunities and expand their geographical footprint. Furthermore, growing incidence of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and obesity due to an increase in sedentary lifestyle and changing dietary habits is expected to propel market growth in the coming years. For instance, countries like Korea, Japan, China, and India are among countries that report the highest cases of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Key market contributors include Quintiles, Covance, Pharmaceutical Product Development, LLC (PPD), Parexel, Charles River Laboratories (CRL), ICON, Plc, and Medidata Solutions. In addition to offering improved services, healthcare contract research organizations are in the process of collaborating to promote their services at a global level. For instance, in October 2015, Quintiles and IMS Health formed a strategic alliance to improve the way biopharmaceutical companies generate evidence and apply insights to drive research. This move was immensely significant for the healthcare contract research outsourcing market and reinstated the weightage of market players. Through this collaboration, Quintiles leverages on IMS’s script data to provide holistic patient recruitment services. Quintiles also uses the IMS database to design targeted and complex trials. The real-world evidence capabilities of both companies, in unison, are even more powerful, allowing them to generate revenues faster than their financial backlog.
Healthcare CROs are also in the process of continuously improving their portfolio by integrating services with technology. This enables them to save more on time and deliver efficient and desired results to clients. In 2018, PAREXEL integrated medical writing solutions in its service offering. This initiative is anticipated to enable the company in offering holistic drug development and commercialization services. ICON plc leverages IBM Watson computing for patient recruitment and engagement. Moreover, the company has access to PMG Research’s site network and global alliances with a strong presence in Asia, which it maintains with acquisitions and alliances with existing healthcare players in the region. The company’s acquisition of Clinical Research Management opened its gates for government-sponsored research opportunities.
Base year for estimation
Actual estimates/Historical data
2016 - 2018
2020 - 2027
Revenue in USD Million and CAGR from 2020 to 2027
North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East & Africa
U.S., Canada, Germany, U.K., Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Austria China, Indonesia, Taiwan, China, Australia. Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, India, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, Israel
Revenue forecast, competitive landscape, growth factors and trends
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This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2016 to 2027. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global healthcare contract research organizations market report on the basis of type, service, and region:
Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)
Phase I Trial Services
Phase II Trial Services
Phase III Trial Services
Phase IV Trial Services
Service Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)
Project Management/Clinical Supply Management
Quality Management/ Assurance
Patient and site Recruitment
Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)
Middle East & Africa
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