US CRO market tipped to double in size

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Zoom zoom)
(Image: Getty/Zoom zoom)

Related tags: United states, Contract research

US CRO market forecast to double in size, growing from around $12bn in 2019 to more than $25bn in 2027.

Coherent Market Insights made the prediction in a report​ focused on the US market for contract research organizations (CROs). According to the authors of the report, the US CRO market will achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.4% in the coming years, causing it to swell in size to $25bn (€22bn) by 2027.

Increased R&D spending is one source of growth for the CRO market. The other source of growth is increased outsourcing penetration, which causes service providers to receive a greater proportion of the R&D budget.

Coherent Market Insights’ prediction is based on a belief that R&D budgets and outsourcing penetration will increase in the coming years. Trade group PhRMA tracked near double-digit increases in R&D spending from 2015 to 2018, the most recent year for which there is data, potentially providing support for the view that the US CRO sector can achieve a CAGR of 9.4%.

However, the past decade has also featured years of low single digit growth and two years when budgets contracted. A wide range of hard to predict events, such as changes to US drug pricing, could affect the CRO sector between now and 2027, potentially limiting the reliability of forecasts that try to look out that far.

Near-term changes in R&D budgets, outsourcing penetration and, by extension, the size of the CRO market can be predicted more reliably and groups other than Coherent Market Insights have tried to do so.

In September 2019, a survey of 26 executives at small to large biopharma companies by Jefferies analysts found R&D budgets are expected to grow by 6.4% in 2020. The forecast is well up on the figures for 2018 and 2019, which were 5.7% and 5.0%, respectively, due to a jump in planned spending by large biopharma companies.

The Jefferies survey tracked a slight increase in outsourcing penetration, which is forecast to tick up by more than half a percentage point in 2020. Again, large companies are forecast to drive the trend, offsetting reduced R&D budget growth and outsourcing penetration at small- and mid-sized drug developers.

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