Currently, the total spend on CROs is pegged at $15bn (€10.3bn) and a growth rate of 15 per cent is expected over the next seven years, Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst, Barath Shankar told Outsourcing-Pharma.com in an interview. Within the sector, Shankar said there has been a lot of Phase IV activity of late and he expects this to be the fastest growing clinical subsection. "We are experiencing and expect to continue seeing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12-13 per cent for the early stage areas and a 15 per cent growth in the late phases over the next seven years," he said. As far a breakdown on spend for each phase of clinical development, Phase III unsurprisingly captures the largest proportion, with 24 per cent. Preclinical, Phase II and Phase IV are equally split at 20 per cent each, while the least amount (15 per cent) is spent on Phase I. Presently, two thirds of CRO spending originates from big pharma, but biotechs are now driving a lot of this industry's growth, said Shankar. Regionally, the US remains the dominant clinical trial destination, holding 60 per cent of the volume. Europe is a long way behind, with only 14 per cent of study volume, while the remaining 16 per cent is scattered around the rest of the world. Over the next six years or so the US' share is expected to erode to 52 per cent, with Europe picking up 6 per cent and the remainder going to the rest of the world. "During this time, all the emerging markets are only going to grow in low single digit numbers [2-3 per cent]," said Shankar. Further details of the research can be found in the report, titled: "Global CRO Spending Trends".