GVR Report cover Small Molecule Innovator CDMO Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Small Molecule Innovator CDMO Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Product (Small Molecule API, Small Molecule Drug Product), By Stage Type, By Customer Type, By Therapeutic Area, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2023 - 2030

  • Report ID: GVR-4-68039-908-0
  • Number of Pages: 119
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Range: 2018 - 2021
  • Industry: Healthcare

Report Overview

The global small molecule innovator CDMO market size was estimated at 45.2 billion in 2022 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4% from 2022 to 2030. The main drivers for this growth are increasing pharmaceutical R&D investment, growing demand for small molecules, and rising incidence of cancer & age-related disorders. Biological drugs are more expensive than small molecules. Hence, the growing demand for cost-effective drugs is expected to further support the market growth. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the global economy in 2020 and caused an ongoing impact on various industries. However, the market for contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) witnessed a positive impact due to this pandemic.

U.S. small molecule innovator CDMO market size, by product, 2020 - 2030 (USD Billion)

CDMOs played an important role in meeting the needs of pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, and other end-users during this crisis. Overall, the pandemic boosted the demand for small molecule innovator drugs. With the growing demand for outsourcing by pharma companies, it is expected the demand of the market is likely to expand in the post-pandemic period.

The expansion of the small molecule innovator CDMO industry is being driven by an increase in cancer incidences and a rise in the demand for effective diagnosis & R&D for oncology procedures. According to the WHO, cancer is the leading cause of death globally, with approximately 10 million estimated fatalities in 2020. The high burden of cancer is expected to support the demand for innovative cancer drugs and promote the market demand during the forecast period.

Product Insights

The small molecule API segment dominated the market and accounted for the largest revenue share of 61.5% in 2022. The product segment is segmented into small-molecule API and small molecule drug products. This growth can primarily be attributed to the rising demand for small molecule innovators. Furthermore, in recent years, the U.S. FDA has approved a significant number of new APIs. For instance, in 2021, the FDA approved 50 new molecular entities in the U.S. Similar approvals in the future are expected to support the growth of the segment.

The segment also contains small molecule drug product, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.8% during the forecast period. Small molecule drug delivery solutions have become increasingly sophisticated, and regulatory standards have become strict to ensure patients receive a higher level of quality & efficacy. Not all companies have well-equipped facilities to manufacture commercial products. As a result, they are subject to many laws and inspection intervals, among other things. Partnering with a reputable CDMO with well-maintained GMP facilities, a proven regulatory track record, and a strong quality system can greatly reduce regulatory risks. This is expected to support the segment growth.

Stage Type Insights

The clinical stage segment is expected to hold the largest share of 55.1% in 2022. Based on stage type market is segmented into preclinical, clinical, and commercial. There is a significant number of small molecule drugs in the clinical stage. Apart from this, there is a constant surge in R&D spending on drugs. For instance, according to the report of World Preview, the total R&D spending on drugs accounted for USD 226.0 billion in 2022, and by 2026, it is expected that the total R&D spending on drugs is expected to reach 254.0 billion. The surge in R&D spending is expected to increase the growth of the clinical segment.

The commercial segment is projected to register the fastest CAGR of 7.0% over the forecast period. Rising demand for outsourcing by small- and medium-sized pharmaceutical companies is one of the factors driving the growth. Small molecules accounted for 75% of the 53 NMEs approved in 2020. A similar trend in small molecule drug approvals is expected to promote the segment market. There is a significant number of commercially available small molecule innovator drugs. To focus on the core expertise, the pharmaceutical companies are expected to outsource the manufacturing activities of small molecule innovator drugs to a specialized CDMO; This is expected to further support the growth.

Customer Type Insights

The pharmaceutical segment accounted for 93.9% of the global small molecule innovator CDMO industry in 2022. Based on customer type, the market is segmented into pharmaceutical companies and biopharmaceutical companies. The increase in the number of new small molecule drug launches worldwide is one of the key factors supporting the segment growth.

There is a growing interest among pharmaceutical companies to focus on the core competencies and outsource non-core activities like drug manufacturing and development; owing to this reason, CDMO is actively expanding its manufacturing facilities. For instance, in May 2022, Catalent, Inc. expanded its U.S. manufacturing facility producing large-scale oral doses. Such expansions are expected to increase the collaboration between the CDMO and pharmaceutical companies to manufacture small molecule innovator drugs and thus support the market growth.

The biotechnology segment is expected to grow at a rate of 4.8% across the forecast period. The rapid advancement of biopharmaceutical research and technology opens new opportunities for generating small-molecule drugs that are both innovative and creative. In recent years, advancements in prediction, structure-based design, and imaging, as well as automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, have become major enablers for small molecule-led optimization to increase speed and enhance success rates.

Therapeutic Area Insights

The oncology segment held the largest share of 41.8% in 2022 and is anticipated to witness a lucrative CAGR of over 7.0% over the forecast period. Based on therapeutic area, the market is segmented into cardiovascular diseases, oncology, respiratory disorder, neurology, metabolic disorders, infectious diseases, and others. The increasing number of cancer cases globally, significant government reimbursement policies, and the rise in financing for the development of small molecule oncology therapies are other factors boosting segment growth.

A significant number of cancer drugs are in the pipeline. For instance, according to the Pharmaceutical R&D annual review, in 2022, oncology accounted for the majority of clinical trials totaling 16,000. A high number of studies in this therapeutic area supports the growth of the segment.

Global small molecule innovator CDMO market share, by therapeutic area, 2022 (%)

The infectious diseases segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.6% over the forecast period. Every year, new, potentially hazardous bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites arise, such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). Infectious diseases are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for over 170,000 deaths each year. Infectious infections are the second leading cause of death worldwide, with over half of all deaths occurring in children under the age of five.

Existing diseases, as well as new and emerging ones, pose a constant threat to the global population. The growing disease burden of infectious disease will boost the demand for small molecule innovators CDMO industry, which, in turn, is likely to propel the market growth during the forecast period.

Regional Insights

Asia Pacific accounted for the largest revenue share of 42.1% in 2022. Advancements in technology, low cost of services, and availability of skilled workforce at a lower cost than developed economies, such as the U.S., are anticipated to propel regional market growth. Increasing regulatory focus on quality control for manufacturing is one of the key factors expected to drive the growth over the forecast period.

Small Molecule Innovator CDMO Market Trends by Region

Asia Pacific has several regulatory agencies, such as the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) in Japan; the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) in South Korea; the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia; and the Singapore Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in Singapore. These organizations ensure that drugs produced in the country are of high quality. This further supports regional market growth.

North America is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.8% during the forecast period. It is one of the major contributors to the growth of the small molecule API innovator Contract Development & Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) industry. It is characterized by the presence of several established pharmaceutical and biotechnology. Furthermore, growing R&D investments by life sciences and pharmaceutical companies are anticipated to increase the demand for contract manufacturing in the region.

Key Companies & Market Share Insights

Companies are undertaking various strategic initiatives to gain a competitive advantage. Key parameters affecting the competitive nature of the market include acquisition, geographic expansion, mergers, acquisitions, and product launches. For instance, in June 2022, Lonza inaugurated a new clinical phase development and manufacturing facility in its small molecules site in Bend, Oregon. It is dedicated to manufacturing bioavailability-enhancing spray-dried dispersion (SDD) finished dosage forms and drug product intermediates. Some prominent players in the global small molecule innovator CDMO market include:

  • Piramal Pharma Solutions

  • CordenPharma International

  • Wuxi AppTec

  • Cambrex Corporation

  • Recipharm AB

  • Pantheon (Thermo Fisher Scientific)

  • Lonza

  • Catalent Inc.

  • Siegfried Holding AG

  • Boehringer Ingelheim

  • Labcorp Drug Development

Recent Developments

  • In September 2022, WuXi STA inaugurated a new sterile lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulation development and manufacturing facility at its Wuxi city campus.The integrated drug product platform CRDMO provides a full range of services, including solid-state development, pre-formulation, and clinical to commercial drug product manufacturing.

  • In June 2022, Lonza inaugurated a new clinical phase development and manufacturing facility in its small molecules site in Bend, Oregon. It specializes in producing bioavailability-enhancing spray-dried dispersion (SDD) finished dosage forms and drug product intermediates.

  • In June 2022,Boehringer Ingelheim announced a partnership with CarthroniX, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing small molecule-based therapies for degenerative and aging-related diseases, to pursue small molecule therapeutics in canine oncology.

  • In June 2021, Thermo Fisher Scientific introducedthe Thermo Scientific Orbitrap IQ-X Tribrid mass spectrometer, designed specifically for small-molecule structural elucidation of metabolites and unknown compounds. The wide range of applications includes metabolomics and lipidomics research, and forensic toxicology.

  • In May 2021, Labcorp announced the expansion of its drug development offering in the Asia-Pacific region with the addition of bioanalytical services in Singapore.The bioanalytical laboratory will aid in the development of both small and large molecular entities and offer a complete range of regulated and non-regulated bioanalytical services.

Small Molecule Innovator CDMO Market Report Scope

Report Attribute


Market Size value in 2023

USD 48.6 billion

Revenue forecast in 2030

USD 74.9 billion

Growth Rate

CAGR of 6.4% from 2023 to 2030

Base year for estimation


Historical data

2018 - 2021

Forecast period

2023 - 2030

Quantitative units

Revenue in USD million and CAGR from 2023 to 2030

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, trends

Segments covered

Product, stage type, customer type, therapeutic area, region

Regional scope

North America; Europe; Asia Pacific; Latin America; Middle East & Africa

Country scope

U.S.; Canada; U.K.; Germany; France; Italy; Spain; Denmark; Sweden; Norway;  India; Japan; China; Australia; South Korea; Thailand;  Brazil; Mexico; Argentina; South Africa; Saudi Arabia; UAE; Kuwait

Key companies profiled

Piramal Pharma Solutions; CordenPharma International; Wuxi AppTec; Cambrex Corporation; Recipharm AB; Pantheon (Thermo Fisher Scientific); Lonza ; Catalent Inc.; Siegfried Holding AG; Boehringer Ingelheim; Labcorp Drug Development

Customization scope

Free report customization (equivalent up to 8 analysts’ working days) with purchase. Addition or alteration to country, regional & segment scope.

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Global Small Molecule Innovator CDMO Market Segmentation

This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional & country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2018 to 2030. For this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global small molecule innovator CDMO market report based on product, stage type, customer type, therapeutic area, and region:

  • Product Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2018 - 2030)

    • Small Molecule API

    • Small Molecule Drug Product

      • Oral solid dose

      • Semi-Solid Dose

      • Liquid Dose

      • Others

  • Stage Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2018 - 2030)

    • Preclinical

    • Clinical

      • Phase I

        • Small

        • Medium

        • Large

      • Phase II

        • Small

        • Medium

        • Large

      • Phase III

        • Small

        • Medium

        • Large

    • Commercial

  • Customer Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2018 - 2030)

    • Pharmaceutical

      • Small

      • Medium

      • Large

    • Biotechnology

  • Therapeutic Area Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2018 - 2030)

    • Cardiovascular disease

    • Oncology

    • Respiratory disorders

    • Neurology

    • Metabolic disorders

    • Infectious disease

    • Others

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2018 - 2030)

    • North America

      • U.S.

      • Canada

    • Europe

      • U.K.

      • Germany

      • France

      • Italy

      • Spain

      • Denmark

      • Sweden

      • Norway

    • Asia Pacific

      • India

      • Japan

      • China

      • Australia

      • South Korea

      • Thailand

    • Latin America

      • Brazil

      • Mexico

      • Argentina

    • Middle East & Africa

      • South Africa

      • Saudi Arabia

      • UAE

      • Kuwait 

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