Contract research organizations provide support to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries. The market growth can be attributed to the growing R&D expenditure, increased outsourcing of R&D activities, and a rising number of clinical trials. Efficiency is being considered as the most important factor in light of the financial burden faced by pharmaceutical companies from all directions. Patent expiries leading to generic rivalry and stringent demands from regulators continue to have an impact on the bottom lines of pharmaceutical companies.
Though the spending on R&D was reduced after several years, it is now growing yet again. According to the American pharmaceutical review, the involvement of CRO engagement at each clinical phase has also increased, and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are banking more heavily on contracting out for the early stages of clinical research, from drug discovery through Phases I and II. Now, nearly two-thirds (63%) of the companies are appointing contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) and CROs for Phase II studies. This strong trend of outsourcing may lead to the growth of the contract research organization market. However, the COVID-19 pandemic may pose some serious challenges to the market over the forecast period.
Key Market Trends
Early-Phase Development Services Segment is Poised to Witness Robust Growth over the Forecast Period
With a growing number of patents expiring, the competition from generic counterparts of drugs is increasing and drug makers are under pressure to replace the revenue loss due to generics. Furthermore, R&D costs are increasing due to the complexity of drug molecules and more stringent regulatory requirements. Drug discovery and development processes are becoming increasingly complex. To counter this complexity and streamline the operations, pharmaceutical firms are outsourcing early drug development processes. Additionally, leading CROs have developed significant expertise in the field of early-phase development, and CROs are leveraging this expertise to offer highly efficient and accurate early-phase development services. CROs are also allowing small- and mid-size firms to enter the complex drug development process without significant investment in capital equipment. Pertaining to these reasons, the early-phase development services segment is poised to register robust growth rates.
Asia-Pacific is Expected to Record Fastest Growth over the Forecast Period
Pricing pressure due to the changing reimbursement scenario and generic competition is causing major pharmaceutical firms to outsource R&D and clinical trials, which is supplementing the growth of CRO services in the Asia-Pacific region. In the emerging countries of the region, the cost of conducting clinical trials is relatively cheaper, due to fewer labor costs and low costs for handling clinical trial supplies. The cost is around 40-60% lesser in the emerging countries, as compared to the cost in developed countries, such as the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The low cost and the presence of major contract research organizations are fueling the market growth in the Asia-Pacific region.
Globally, few major players control a major share of the market. However, the remaining market share is heavily fragmented with the presence of several local and niche players. Companies, like IQVIA, ICON PLC, and PPD, lead the contract research organization market. The major players in the market accumulated a huge amount of data, which is being employed to attain a competitive edge in the market.
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