Roughly 1,000 CROs are in operation across the world and this number continues to grow. The market is now worth $16bn (€12bn), according to research firm Datamonitor.
Giving a breakdown of this spending, 17 per cent of the total clinical research outsourced is preclinical work; six per cent is in Phase I; 14 per cent is during phase II-III and 16 per cent is postmarketing related.
Central lab services account for a further twelve per cent, while the remaining 28 per cent is being spent on other services such as data management and site management, according to figures from a 2004 Tufts University analysis.
Of the large global players, Quintiles is leading the pack, with 11 per cent of the global market share. Covance and Charles River laboratories share second spot, holding about eight per cent each, with PPD not far behind on seven per cent.
Trailing behind is Parexel, with four per cent and Icon Clinical Research and MDS Pharma follow closely behind on three per cent, while hundreds of mid-sized and smaller niche CROs fight for the remainder 56 per cent, according to 2005 figures released by research firm Global Insights.
According to Mark Lipscombe, a consultant at PA Consulting's Lifescience and Healthcare practice in London, the market is large, and most CROs in this industry, both small and large, will continue to do well.