What can CROs do for your business and who are the top 10?

By David Lawrence |

A contract research organisation (CRO) offers support to the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device industries in the form of outsourced research services. They provide solutions which help a company manage and lead trials, functions and duties.

CROs enable businesses and organisations to acquire specific skills without taking on permanent members of staff, providing the manpower and space required to run the trials effectively. With a market value expected to reach $44 billion by 2021, CROs can reduce costs for companies developing new drugs and medicines.

Types of services provided by contract research organisations

• Database designing and building

• Project management

• Data validation and entry

• Metric and quality reporting

• Validation programming

• Management of clinical trial data

• Disease coding

• Medical coding

• Safety guidelines

• Study reporting

Despite the market value of CROs, the sector is incredibly competitive, with mergers and acquisitions commonplace. Many small and mid-size CROs are taking more niche approaches, and the market is creating numerous job opportunities across the world, including Europe, America, and Asia-Pacific. With all this in mind, let's take a closer look at the organisations leading the market.

The top 10 CROs in the world


2. Parexel

3. Syneos Health

4. Covance

5. Icon

6. PRA Health Sciences

7. PPD

8. Chiltern

9. Fisher Clinical Services

10. Medpace

PPD, in particular, is considered one of the leading CROs, operating in 48 countries across the globe. However, the largest CRO in the world at the moment is IQVIA, with a revenue of 10.4 billion in 2018. IQVIA merged with Quintiles and IMS in 2017, and is leading the way in the data and real-world evidence space.

The rising stars

Firms which are considered to be rising stars include:

• Charles stream research facilities

• Pivotal


• PharmOlam

Of these rising stars, PSI is considered one of the fastest-growing CROs, and specialises in fields such as haematology, oncology, infectious diseases and multiple sclerosis.

With consolidations, automation and expansions expected across the industry throughout 2019, there will no doubt be many more changes in the sector in the months to come.

David Lawrence

Written by David Lawrence

David is the founder of Vine Resources.


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