Contract Research Organization (CRO) Services Market – Global Outlook & Forecast 2021-2031

Contract Research Organization (CRO) Services Market by Service Type [Early Phase Development Services, Clinical Research Services, Laboratory Services, and Post Approval Services], Therapeutic Area [Oncology, Endocrinology, Immunological Disorders, Respiratory Disorders, Neurology, Hematology, Infectious Diseases, and CVS], End User [Pharmaceutical & Biopharmaceutical Companies, Medical Device Companies, and Academic Institutes] – Global Analysis & Forecast 2021-2031

Clairvoyance Research conducted an in-depth market analysis study of the global contract research organization (CRO) services market. According to the study, the market was valued at ~US$ 48.6 billion in 2020. The market is expected to witness a healthy CAGR of ~10.5% from 2021 to 2031.

Growing adoption of decentralized/virtual clinical trial models, rising demand for effective therapies owing to the growing prevalence of various chronic diseases, increasing outsourcing of R&D activities, globalization of clinical trials, and growing strategic collaborations of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with CROs are some of the pivotal factors propelling the growth of the contract research organization (CRO) services market. However, the dearth of skilled professionals is likely to hinder the growth of the market to a certain extent.

Shift from In-House R&D to Outsourcing to CROs Set to Bolster the Contract Research Organization (CRO) Services Market

Constantly evolving industry regulations, increasing competition, and rising demand for new & effective treatment options have urged the biotech & pharma companies to continuously explore innovative technologies and evaluate R&D outsourcing options. Outsourcing research activities to CROs allows healthcare companies to stay competitive, flexible, and profitable against all odds. As CROs often have deeper knowledge & experience in the fields of research, outsourcing of R&D activities allows healthcare companies to leverage therapeutic areas & operational expertise, geographic reach, and well-established tools of CROs. CROs are capable to undertake functions of all stages of the drug development process (i.e., discovery & development, preclinical research, clinical research, and post-approval monitoring) more effectively and faster as compared to in-house research & development teams of healthcare companies. Outsourcing of R&D activities also allows healthcare companies to conserve their limited resources for the most value-adding activities.

Decentralized Clinical Trials/Virtual Clinical Trials - Digital Revolution in Clinical Trials

The sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the traditional drug-testing paradigm by interrupting drug trials & site visits. The clinical supply chain was disrupted, the participant enrollment was put off and the development of many treatments was delayed. The unprecedented scenario adversely impacted pharmaceutical & biotechnology company's capability to maintain continuity in studies and reach patients. The patient's access to the trial site was reduced by around 75-80% due to physical distancing and lockdown restrictions. Whereas, in May 2020, investigators reported around 60% reduction in trial activities. 
To alleviate the adverse effect of COVID-19, companies started adopting decentralized/hybrid/virtual clinical trial models and collaborated with virtual trial platform vendors and remote monitoring solutions providers to support decentralized trial models. The pandemic has significantly boosted the adoption of decentralized clinical trials owing to its benefits and its ability to improve patient & physician experience. It allows maintaining the links to trial participants without the need for in-person visits, with the help of tools like electronic consent, telehealthcare, remote patient monitoring, and electronic clinical outcome assessments (eCOAs). The shift in drug trials from a physical site-centric approach to a hybrid or decentralized model has allowed to access a large & diverse pool of patients. It has also improved the reliability and accuracy of data obtained.

Dearth of Skilled & Experienced Professionals – A Key Challenge 

There has been a growing challenge of lack of experienced clinical staff in the CRO industry, as the demand for CRO services increases. The lack of qualified clinical research associates (CRA) has extensive effects.  As clinical studies are becoming more expensive, and regulations being stringent, CROs are often forced to hire personnel that does not meet the qualification requirement to stay compliant with the budget. And this may somewhere lead to compromise in the quality of the service provided.

Competitive Landscape

The contract research organization (CRO) services market is marked by the presence of prominent players such as Syneos Health, Parexel International Corporation, IQVIA, Labcorp Drug Development, Charles River, ICON plc, PPD Inc., Novotech, WuXi AppTec, FIRMA CLINICAL. Other players operating in the market are AccuLab Life Sciences, Dove Quality Solutions, Pepgra, Azelix, Medpace, SGS SA, PSI, Bioagile, among others.

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