CRO stands for contract research organisation, although it is often also used for clinical research organisation; this report focuses on the former. CROs provide drug discovery and development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical devices industries, collectively referred to as sponsors. These sponsors hire CROs to facilitate activities across the R&D continuum. Hence, CROs obtain the majority of their revenues from sponsor R&D budgets, with work conducted by them in the form of short- or long-term contractual outsourced services.
As well as providing a background to the field, this report looks at the different sectors of the CRO market, from clinical trials support functions to marketing and pharmacovigilance services. It also analyses the drivers behind the various market trends, and provides an overview of a selection of key deals completed in the past few years. Finally, it highlights the future prospects of this dynamic, developing and growing market.In recent years, biopharmaceutical companies large and small have become increasingly reliant on the contract research organisation (CRO) sector and other clinical services specialists to provide research services across the breadth of their R&D operations. The financial crisis had a significant impact on CRO companies, with sponsors scaling back trial programmes, particularly in the early-stage segment covering preclinical activities and Phase I trials.