CTMS market set to hit $2bn by 2019 yet CROs may not be the driver

By Natalie MORRISON

- Last updated on GMT

Image: Bet_Noire/iStock
Image: Bet_Noire/iStock

Related tags: Clinical trial, Clinical research

The global clinical trial management system (CTMS) market is expected to grow 14% over a five-year period hitting an almost $2bn valuation by 2019, according to a new market report.

However, the growth may not come from CROs with in-house systems, but will likely be seen among specialised clinical technology providers, an industry expert told Outsourcing-Pharma.com.

CTMS is a range of software and technologies used to manage clinical trial data. Such systems are typically provided as a clinical trial service by CROs or speciality clinical technology providers.

The market was valued at $844m in 2013 and the predicted 14% growth between the 2014 - 2019 period is expected to hit an eventual $1.8bn, according to the report -- Persistence Market Research's Global Market Study on CTMS​.

Growing investment focus on life sciences R&D and the increasingly global nature of clinical trials adding regulatory complexities with varying requirements in different regions are some of the driving factors behind projected growth, the report states.

Rising focus on digitisation of clinical trial systems is also a likely factor.

Asia is predicted to be the fastest growing region for CTMS, the report noted. The clinical trials market in the region in general is expanding due to improved industry regulation and patent expiration laws in countries including Japan, China and India, as well as lower R&D costs compared to the West, the report added.

Could CROs offload the tech?

The report also notes that there are various end users for CTMS systems contributing to growth, which includes CROs as well as pharma companies and other healthcare providers. However, several CROs also have their own in-house systems, for instance Parexel and Clinipace.

Yet, the industry expert -- an executive at a clinical technology company -- suggested the growth won't come from CROs, which will increasingly look to divest in-house clinical trial technologies such as CTMS or electronic data capture platforms as a result of mounting cost pressures and a need to keep in-house teams lean.

This is particularly apparent with payers cracking down on reimbursement in recent years, pressures which are filtering back through research expenditure.

Non-core costs such as IT and software teams are therefore ripe for divestment, the expert said, suggesting that CROs will favour outsourcing CTMS and other such platforms to specialised clinical technology providers.

The expert added that the trend can already be seen within his own company, which has seen a distinct rise in CRO requests for clinical technologies in the last few years, particularly for CTMS.

Keeping CTMS platforms in-house

However, he conceded there are some CROs which will remain focussed on technology and may look to keep CTMS platforms in-house.

Parexel is one example of a technology-focussed CRO which has recently renewed its CTMS focus with the launch of IMPACT (a CTMS system) in December​.

Clinipace is a CRO which will not divest tech platforms to other providers because keeping them in house allows the company to "innovate service delivery models"​ as a digital CRO, CEO Jeff Williams also told this publication. The benefit of  creating and maintaining platforms far outweighs the cost, he said.

Major players in the CTMS market are Oracle Corporation, Bio-Optronics, MedNet Solutions, Parexel, Medidata Solutions and BioClinica, according to the Persistence Market report.

CROs which have developed their own clinical trial platforms include Quintiles' with Infosario, Icon with its informatics tech Iconik and patient recruitment platform Firecrest, and Covance with monitoring software as a service (SaaS) Xcellerate. 

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