The global market for outsourced contract research in healthcare should reach US$65.03 billion by 2018, a new report predicts.

That would represent a compound annual growth rate of 14.7% from 2012, according to the report by Transparency Market Research. It values the global market for outsourced contract research in healthcare at US$25.08 billion in 2011.

North America accounted for 64.1% of that market, followed by Europe and Asia, with Asia emerging in 2011 as the fastest-expanding region worldwide for contract research services, Transparency Research notes.                                                     
Growth in this region is supported by the presence of a large number of contract research organisations, as well as cost-effectiveness advantages and local expertise, it adds.

The report lists Quintiles, Covance, PPD, Parexel, CRL, Icon, Medidata Solutions and InVentiv Health among the key players dominating the global market for outsourced contract research services.

Slow transition

The global pharmaceutical and medical device industries are “slowly transitioning from an integrated process model to [an] outsourcing model”, Transparency Research comments.

The main drivers for this trend are thinning product pipelines, impending patent expiries and declining productivity, especially over the last decade, it says.

Outsourcing functions such as clinical trials and central laboratory services offers specialist expertise along with opportunities for reduced process duration, cost savings and flexible pricing models, as well as options for globalising research efforts, Transparency Research observes.