Contract research is having a moment right now. Will M&A splashes drive the industry to even greater heights?
Contract research organizations are a fairly mysterious bunch. They’re typically considered the skilled laborers behind big drug development — the stage crews who run the trials behind some of the most (and least) successful data reveals in biopharma history.
But all that is changing.
This year, a couple of huge, out-of-the-blue M&A deals sounded the alarm on just how much money is flying around in this corner of the industry.
John Kreger, an analyst at William Blair, estimates that about half of all clinical trial work is outsourced to contract research organizations, also known as CROs. In recent years, the companies have slowly begun to take on a new look, with services now ranging from consulting to manufacturing and commercialization. It’s an industry that’s projected to reach $90 billion by 2026, according to Fortune Business Insights.
“No one has great data about how big this market is or how much is outsourced. Everyone’s dealing with estimates,” Kreger said.
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