The contract research market: revenues are growing while vendors are consolidating

Projected growth rates for outsourced work range from 12 to 17%


Two just-released market studies provide scope to the contract research organization (CRO) business, which has seen consolidation in the past year on a scale comparable to the consolidation in other parts of the healthcare universe (insurers, healthcare systems, and, to a degree, the pharma industry itself), even while the business is experiencing double-digit growth.

At Kalorama Information, the Outsourcing in Drug Discovery Market, 8th edition, report projects a 17% growth rate between 2017 and 2018 in the global market, to $27.8 billion. The longer-term trend is for a doubling of the market between 2017 and 2022, when the market will be $48.1 billion.

At The Business Research Co., Contract Research Organizations Global Market Report 2018 finds that the current growth rate is 12% per year globally; also that the US market was worth $20.8 billion in 2017 in a global market of $44.4 billion (obviously, Business Research and Kalorama are using different criteria for their estimations). Both reports find that the outsourced portion of pharma drug development is growing and will reach 50% in the near future.

Business Research’s news release includes a ranking of top CROs and their respective market shares:

1. IQVIA, 12.4%
2. Laboratory Corp., 6.6%
3. ICON PLC, 5.5%
4. Parexel, 4.8%
5. PPD, 4.2%
6. PRA Health Sciences 4.2%
7. Syneos Health 3.7%
8. Charles River Laboratories, 2.6%
9. WuXi Pharmatech, 2.1%

The Kalorama report is available for purchase here, while The Business Research Co.’s report is here.