Offshoring to emerging markets and demand for late-stage development services will help to fuel cumulative growth of more than 50% in the worldwide market for clinical trials over the next five years, a new report predicts.

Contract research organisations serving the pharmaceutical industry generated revenues of US$21.69 billion worldwide in 2010, says the visiongain report, Pharma Clinical Trial Services: World Market 2011-2021. Global revenues are expected to reach US$32.73 billion in 2015 and to exceed US$65 billion in 2021, with the top ten CROs then accounting for more than half of the overall market.

Over the next decade, full-service CROs will further benefit from multi-billion dollar strategic alliances with Big Pharma companies as outsourcing of drug development continues to provide access to strong therapeutic experience and significant cost savings, says visiongain pharmaceutical industry analyst Richard Lang.

At the same time, Lang adds, niche market players will be able to take advantage of increased demand for specialised clinical trial services, particularly in the fields of cancer and central nervous system disorders.

Revenue growth will also come from offshoring to emerging markets, especially India, China, Brazil and Russia, as well as other countries in Southeast Asia and Central and Eastern Europe, the report notes.

Revenues from clinical trials in India and China will show compound annual growth of more than 20%, with China becoming the world’s second largest market for pharmaceutical clinical trial services by 2021, visiongain believes.

Another market driver is expected to be demand for late-stage development services, which has outgrown demand for early-stage services in recent years, visiongain points out. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies “are increasingly focusing on near-registration projects to combat the impending patent cliff”, it comments.