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Contract Research Organization (CRO) Services Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Service Type (Early Phase Development Services, Clinical, Laboratory Service and Others), By Application (Oncology, CNS Disorder, Cardiology, Infectious Disease, Metabolic Disorder, and Others), By End-User (Pharmaceutical and Biotech Companies, Medical Device Companies, Academic and Research Institutes and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2023-2030

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI100864



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The contract research organization (CRO) services market size was valued at USD 82.60 billion in 2023 and is projected to grow USD 188.52 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 12.5% during 2023-2030. Rising chronic disease burden and pressure for new treatments drive the CRO market.

Contract research organization (CRO) services provides clinical management services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device manufacturers. Clinical trial management gets complicated due to many factors, such as sponsors, manufacturers, ethical committees, competent authorities, foundations, researchers, centers, and legal departments. Moreover, it is crucial to work under the guidelines of good clinical practices and harmonization guides, ensuring the unaffected quality of the study.

CRO services sources of revenue are generally from the R&D budgets of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device companies, governments, and other medical research entities. Similarly, the future revenue growth for the CROs can be attributed to overall R&D spending and growth in pharmaceutical R&D outsourcing. The increasing need for time-efficient and cost-effective drug development with high therapeutic expertise has increased the demand for CRO services. In many cases, outsourcing R&D functions provide the opportunity to optimize internal cost structures by exploiting CROs' capacity, scale, and expertise. Therefore, increased outsourced penetration is anticipated in the clinical development and post-approval stages. Certain early-stage functions like safety assessment and regulatory-related services also boost the outsourcing trends, thus propelling the market's growth. The organizations collaborate with other companies to develop innovative products that help in their trial services.

For instance, in April 2021, Pharmaceutical Product Development, LLC. (PPD) and Science 37 entered into a collaboration in which PPD would use Science 37’s Decentralized clinical trial Software as a Service (SaaS)-based technology platform to design, build, test, implement, and execute digital trials. This factor would eventually help the organization in expanding its market share.


Accelerated Drug Development Efforts Augmented Market Growth During Pandemic

COVID-19 has had both positive and negative impacts on the market. During 2020 the CRO services market growth was slowed due to lockdown restrictions. But soon, the market observed a spike in its growth. During COVID-19, many pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies boosted their R&D and manufacturing processes to develop and distribute test kits, vaccines, and drugs against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. To boost R&D, many pharma and biotech companies have collaborated with CROs through long-term agreements, partnerships, and collaborations worldwide. For instance, in January 2021, ICON partnered with Pfizer and BioNTech to develop an experimental program for COVID-19 vaccines.

Moreover, for COVID-19 research, Contract research organization services provide dedicated research. After the COVID-19 outbreak, many new services, partnerships, and collaborations worldwide were recorded with pharma companies and academic institutes for COVID-19 vaccine research and development.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the global market observed a significant increase in its market value due to the high demand for these services and increased revenue generated by the market players. For instance, IQVIA generated an estimated revenue of USD 13.65 billion in 2021, increasing 20.2% from the prior year.   


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Growing Investment by Pharma, Biopharma, and Medical Devices Makers to Boost Market Growth 

Most biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and medical devices businesses continue investing significant resources into developing new medications and technologies. Sponsors generally outsource therapeutic and other product development functions to independent services providers, which leads them to use a more flexible cost structure and avoid maintaining redundant development capabilities worldwide.

Increasing investments by many key businesses in clinical and non-clinical research activities and outsourcing to many contract research organizations services that help provide cost-effective development options fuel the global market growth. The trend shows that the key pharma companies are enhancing their R&D efficiencies and collaborating on added R&D. The pharma R&D sector is changing as companies are looking to allow more people to work remotely and focus on making trial endpoints more patient-centric and responsive. These factors will augment the market growth.


Rise in Prevalence of Chronic Diseases is Fueling Contract Research Organization Services Market Growth 

The global burden of chronic diseases is swiftly rising. For instance, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, chronic diseases accounted for approximately 60% of the world's 56.5 million documented deaths and 46% of the global disease burden. Based on an article from BMC Public Health in June 2020, WHO estimated that by 2020, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) would account for 80% of the global disease burden. Cardiovascular diseases account for more than half of all chronic disease deaths, while obesity and diabetes rise due to their widespread prevalence and earlier onset.

Chronic disease is a problem that affects people worldwide, not only in developed countries. Despite common belief, emerging countries are increasingly facing chronic disease-related public health problems. According to WHO, in five of the WHO's six regions, chronic diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders, immunological disorders, and others account for most mortality. Infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, and other similar disorders are still prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, and this trend is predicted to continue.

Although worldwide healthy life expectancy has climbed gradually (by over 6.5 years) between 1990 and 2019, it has not increased as much as overall life expectancy in 198 of the 204 nations studied, indicating that mortality has decreased even with the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases. Based on a WHO article published in April 2021, around 77% of NCD deaths happen in low and middle-income countries. Cardiovascular diseases accounted for most NCD deaths, approximately 17.9 million annually. Number of deaths due to cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes were 9.3 million, 4.1 million and 1.5 million, respectively. The increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and rising awareness against these diseases have increased the pressure on the market players to develop efficient medications and is expected to boost the market significantly. These factors, in turn, drive the market.

Increasing Number of Clinical Trials Resulting in Increased Outsourcing to CROs

Clinical trials are essential for medication development processes all over the world. It helps discover novel treatments for diseases and new techniques for detecting, diagnosing, and preventing disease development. Clinical trials offer the scientific foundation for guiding and treating patients and evaluating novel medications and equipment. Clinical trial results help direct the right direction even though researchers may not get the expected results. Clinical trials in the United States are comparatively less than those conducted in other nations worldwide. Many clinical trials are conducted outside the United States and the European Union since it is often easier and less expensive.

Clinical trial success rates are highly dependent on the study's stage and the treatments or items being developed. Based on the article from Biotechnology Innovation Organization, only about 9% of medications make it through phase I to approval. Recently, the number of clinical trials that have been filed has risen significantly. Clinical trials have become increasingly sophisticated, yet they are still necessary to study and develop novel medications and technologies. This increase in the number of clinical trials is anticipated to boost the development of new drugs and is expected to drive the market's growth in the forecast period.


Lack of Skilled Professionals to Restrain Growth of the Market

The surge in globalization is boosting the rate of innovation and technology. New opportunities are constantly being added in terms of occupation. Furthermore, increasing industrialization and new services have increased the demand for new skills. This trend has also increased competency in job opportunities. CROs face issues attracting and maintaining highly competent experts as they compete for qualified and experienced scientists with biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical devices businesses, and academic and research institutions. Companies must offer better compensation and incentives to better compete, affecting the finances and outcomes of players, mainly small-scale analytical testing providers.

This scarcity of qualified specialists is a barrier to adopting novel procedures and technologies, restricting market growth. For instance, as per Labor Statistics, the U.S. market experienced a lack of experienced workforce in 2019. Skill development has not yet been successfully delivered by many countries worldwide. There are gaps between the working-age population and basic literacy. For instance, according to World Bank, around 750 million people aged 15 and above globally are not reading or writing, making it 18% of the global population.


By Service Type Analysis

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Clinical Segment Dominated Global CRO Services Market Due to Rising Number of Clinical Trials for Chronic Diseases

By service type, the market is divided into early phase development services, laboratory services, clinical, and others.

The clinical segment held a significant portion of the global contract research organization services market share in 2022. This is attributed to the high prevalence and rise in the number of chronic disease cases. Also, the growth in outsourcing R&D activities in the biotechnology & pharmaceutical sectors propels this market.

The early phase development services segment is estimated to expand at a comparatively higher CAGR during the forecast period. This is because of the increasing investment in the development of life-saving drugs.  

By Application Analysis

Oncology Segment to Dominate Led by Continuous Development of Cancer Treatment Solutions

Based on application, the market can be segmented into CNS disorder, oncology, cardiology, metabolic disorder, infectious disease, and others. 

Oncology has the highest market share as there is advancement in research and technology, and there is more focus on addressing broader global disease threats such as oncology. The stringent regulatory protocols and burdensome penalties for non-compliance have also increased the duration, cost, and complexity of clinical trials. It has been observed that the most active and fastest-growing therapeutic area for the CRO is oncology, representing the single most considerable focus in clinical development at present.

CNS Disorder has the second-highest CAGR due to the growing prevalence of Alzheimer's, Dementia, and Parkinson's disease. 

By End User Analysis

Pharmaceutical Biotech Companies to Hold Dominant Share Backed by Increasing R&D

Based on end-users, the market can be segmented into medical device companies, academic and research institutes, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and others.

Pharmaceutical and biotech companies have the highest market share as pharmaceutical sponsors are investing more in R&D and outsourcing a larger portion of R&D to independent service providers. According to Credit Suisse, only 41% of the clinical development was outsourced in 2016. It was anticipated to increase to 50% in 2020 because the cost and complexity of the development increase in onerous reimbursement and regulatory environment as using CRO partners, these pharmaceutical organizations seek more efficient solutions. 

CROs for medical device is also growing at a faster pace. Management of medical technologies and new developments in healthcare by the CRO service providers has increased the market size share for medical devices.


North America Contract Research Organization (CRO) Services Market Size, 2022 (USD Billion)

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In terms of geography, the global market can be categorized into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Rest of the World.

The North America CRO services market was valued at USD 36.97 billion in 2022 and is expected to hold a major share of the global market in the forecast period. Factors responsible for the region’s dominance include the important pharmaceutical companies located in the region and their overall drug development activity and good healthcare infrastructure. Pharmaceutical organizations have increased their focus on outsourcing clinical trials to treat different disease conditions. Also, these organizations are investing more in R&D activities.  

Europe was the second largest region in the market globally in 2022 and is estimated to hold this position during the forecast period. This is due to the surge in the incidence of diseases. Based on the article from Strategic Policy Group, the number of older people aged 65 years or more in the region would increase significantly, rising from around 90.5 million in 2019 to 129.8 million by 2050. Moreover, healthcare expenditure is surging, and pharma companies depend more on contract research organizations to offer more efficiency and productivity.

The Asia Pacific market is projected to grow at the fastest CAGR.The high growth is mainly attributed to the surge in R&D activity and growing shift towards outsourcing. Furthermore, low cost resources in the Asia Pacific region is one of the major factors driving the market growth in the region.

For instance, as per IBEF 2019 report, India’s cost of production is approximately 33.0% lower than that of the U.S.

The market in Rest of the World is expected to hold limited share in the market during the forecast period. However, increasing healthcare expenditure in the countries in rest of the world  is expected to fuel market growth.


Labcorp Adopts Merger & Acquisition Strategies to Bolster Portfolio and Strengthen Market Foothold 

Labcorp Drug Development accounted for the major shares of the market 2022. The increased growth of the market was majorly due to the company’s strong focus on mergers and acquisition to upskill their services. For instance, in July 2021, Labcorp announced the expansion of its oncology portfolio by acquiring Omniseq. This acquisition upskilled the company’s contract research organization services portfolio.

Other key players, such as IQVIA, Pharmaceutical Product Development, LLC, and ICON pIc, held significant shares in the market. This was due to its strong focus on R&D to expand its product offerings and strengthen its global presence. Furthermore, companies are also focusing on incorporating new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, to increase the efficacy of their service offerings.



  • December 2021 –Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. completed the acquisition of Pharmaceutical Product Development, LLC. This acquisition enhanced the key services and offerings of the company.

  • December 2021 – Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings completed the acquisition of Toxikon Corporation. This acquisition bolstered the company’s strong non-clinical development portfolio.

  • November 2021 – Icon plc announced that its Accellacare Site Network has expanded in reach and capabilities through new partnerships with six research sites across four countries.

  • November 2021 – Iqvia announced data aggregation strategy as the foundation to optimize the market insights. It helps to harness the right data and services to optimize the patient. This increased the efficiency of the company’s services.

  • October 2021 – Parexel International Corporation and Kyoto University Hospital formed a strategic partnership to expand clinical research opportunities.


An Infographic Representation of Contract Research Organization (CRO) Services Market

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The global market report provides a detailed market analysis. It focuses on key aspects such as an overview of the market, penetration of outsourcing in R&D and key countries, pricing analysis. Additionally, it includes key industry developments such as mergers, partnerships, & acquisitions, the impact of COVID-19 on the market, and brand analysis. Besides these, the report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over recent years. The report also covers a regional analysis of different segments.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period


Growth Rate

CAGR of 12.5% from 2023-2030


Value (USD Billion)


Service Type, Application, End-User, and Region

By Service Type

  • Early Phase Development Services

    • CMC

    • Preclinical Services

    • Discover

  • Clinical

    • Phase 1

    • Phase 2

    • Phase 3

    • Phase 4

  • Laboratory Service

  • Others

By Application

  • Oncology

  • CNS Disorder

  • Cardiology

  • Infectious Disease

  • Metabolic Disorder

  • Renal/Nephrology

  • Others

By End-user

  • Pharmaceutical & Biotechnological Companies

  • Medical Device Companies

  • Academic & Research Institutes

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America (by Service Type, by Application, by End-user, and by Country)

    • U.S.

    • Canada

  • Europe ( by Service Type, by Application, by End-user, and by Country/Country-Sub-region)

    • U.K.

    • Germany

    • France

    • Italy

    • Spain

    • Scandinavia

    • Rest of Europe

  • Asia Pacific ( by Service Type, by Application, by End-user, and by Country/Country-Sub-region )

    • Japan

    • China

    • India

    • Australia & New Zealand

    • Southeast Asia

    • Rest of Asia Pacific

  • Rest of the World ( by Service Type, by Application, and by End-user)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 73.38 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 188.52 billion by 2030.

Growing at a CAGR of 12.5%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2023-2030).

The clinical segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.

The increasing number of clinical trials and surge in the cases of chronic disease are some of the major factors driving the markets growth.

Labcorp and IQVIA are some of the major players in the global market.

North America dominated the market in 2022.

The surge in the outsourcing for R&D by the pharmaceutical organizations more efficiency and productivity are factors that drive the adoption of the service.

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