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Key trends boosting the post-pandemic CRO market

8 Sep 2020

Hybrid clinical trials leveraging safety-focused, direct-to-consumer logistical solutions are taking center stage, ensuring research continuity.

Recent analysis, "Hybridization of Clinical Trial Designs Reviving Global CRO Market Post-pandemic; 2019-2024", by Frost & Sullivan, reveals that hybrid clinical trials and remote patient monitoring are key trends driving the global contract research organization (CRO) market.

With the increased threat of COVID-19 and worldwide lockdowns in effect, however, the CRO market is experiencing interruptions in ongoing clinical trials and delays in new trials.

Recovery is expected to commence from 2023; although it will be staggered, it will take revenue to the original growth trajectory by 2024–2025. As per the revised forecast after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the market is estimated to garner revenue of $63.83 billion by 2024 from $43.03 billion in 2019.

"Due to the impact of the coronavirus, many large pharmaceutical companies have placed new trials on hold and numerous small, mid-size, and large enterprises have suspended ongoing ones, thereby demonstrating the magnitude of the disruption," said Unmesh Lal, Healthcare Industry Principal at Frost & Sullivan.

"To minimize the adverse effect of the pandemic, organizations such as site management organizations (SMOs) and patient recruitment organizations (PROs), that operate traditionally, will have to explore collaboration opportunities with emerging virtual trial platform vendors, eRecruitment providers, and remote monitoring solutions providers to expand the capability to support distributed/hybrid CT models."

As a result of COVID-19, pharmaceutical companies have decreased R&D spending by 2–3% compared with their original forecast. This is will have a knock-on effect on outsourcing to CROs - further revenue erosions across drug discovery and preclinical segments, particularly in North America and Europe.

On a positive note, Lal suggests the proliferation of new clinical trial approaches/models, which make use of virtual trial tools and evolving regulatory policies will aid rapid recovery. Similarly, Asia-Pacific will also recover when sites go online as the pandemic eases. The rest of the world, however, will see a slow recovery period because of correspondingly slower adoption of clinical trial IT solutions."

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