Top 10 Global CROs 2018

Industrial Management Consulting
Industrial Management Consulting

In 2017, the global CRO services market is estimated to be valued at USD 36.27 Billion and projected to grow at a CAGR of 7.6% from USD 39.13 Billion in 2018 to reach USD 56.34 Billion by 2023.  Globally more than 1,100 CRO companies are active in 2017. The global CRO market is centralized with the top 10 companies that generated collective total revenue of USD 34.514 billion in 2017 (including reimbursed out-of-pocket revenue). The global contract research market is growing at a strong rate as increased dependence of pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and medical device companies seen due to increased outsourcing of R&D activities, increased R&D expenditures and, increasing number of clinical trials.

The leaders in this market include a mix of public-listed and privately held organizations. Recent collaborations by CRO companies with government agencies and non-profit health organizations has proved that CROs are not just clinical service providers but actively involved in the new drug development process, and immensely contributing to the development of new products and helping advancement in healthcare outcomes.

A ranking system was developed for the top-10 global clinical research organizations. A score statistic was developed to determine the rank of each organization. Revenues (70%), annual Revenue growth 2016 to 2017  (10%),  net income (5%), expenses ratios (5%), revenue per Employee (5%), and scope of service portfolio (5%) were the key input criteria used to calculate the score statistic for and every organization was assigned a score for each of these key input criteria. Different weights were assigned to each rank. A weighted sum of the scores was used to arrive at the final score statistic for each organization. The final score statistic represents the financial health, competitive advantage, and activity status of each organization in the clinical trials domain.

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Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (Covance)

Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (Covance) is headquartered in Burlington, NC and ranked first among the top CROs across the globe owing to its revenue, wide portfolio of clinical research and post-clinical research services after its acquisition of Covance in 2015 and Chiltern in 2017. The company recorded its revenues at USD 10.441billion, an increase by nearly 8.28% from previous year. The Company reports its business in two segments, LabCorp Diagnostics (LCD) and Covance Drug Development (CDD). Covance Drug Development is a provider of end-to-end drug development services from early-stage research to regulatory approval and beyond. The company has sophisticated laboratory network globally with more than 50,000 employees in 2017. 


IQVIA became the second largest player in the ranking as it recorded revenues at USD 9.739 billion, an increase by nearly 41.59% from previous year. The Company reports its business in two segments, Commercial Solutions and Research & Development Solutions. IQVIA has formed through the merger of Quintiles and IMS Health in late 2016. In 2017, IQVIA has over 55,000 employees base that conduct operations in more than 100 countries and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Syneos Health

Syneos Health is formed through the merger of INC Research and Inventiv Health. The company has recorded its revenues at USD 2.672 billion, an increase by nearly 65.96% from previous year. INC Research is focused primarily on Phase I to Phase IV clinical development services for the biopharmaceutical and medical device industries. INC Research offers a variety of clinical development services, including global studies, clinical monitoring, investigator recruitment, patient recruitment, data management, specialized consulting services, scientific exploratory medicine amongst others. Inventiv Health provides comprehensive and integrated clinical and commercial outsourcing services to the biopharmaceutical industry. In 2017, Syneos Health has more than 21,000 clinical and commercial minds that support customers in more than 110 countries.

Paraxel International Corporation

Paraxel International Corporation is ranked fourth in the list with revenue of USD 2.441 billion and has the second largest service portfolio. The company provides a broad range of expertise in clinical research, clinical logistics, medical communications, consulting, commercialization and advanced technology products and services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries. The company operates from 85 locations and have approximately 18,900 employees throughout 52 countries around the world. On September 29, 2017, company, announced that Pamplona Capital Management, LLP has completed its acquisition for $5 billion.

PRA Health Sciences

PRA Health Sciences generated revenue of USD 2.259 billion, an increase by nearly 24.73% from previous year. The company provides clinical trial expertise using clinical development platform includes approximately 70 offices across North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, South Africa, Australia and the Middle East and over 15,000 employees worldwide. The company ranked fifth in the list, owing to total revenue and annual revenue growth.

Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD)

Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD) has generated revenue of USD 1.900 billion, is a privately held organization with a strong portfolio of integrated drug development, laboratory and lifecycle management services including clinical, pre-clinical, post-clinical, and commercialisation services. The company has 89 offices in 47 countries with more than 20,000 employees.

Charles River Laboratories International Inc (CRL)

Charles River Laboratories International Inc (CRL) has generated revenue of USD 1.857 billion, an increase by nearly 10.47% from previous year. The company has a diverse portfolio of discovery and safety assessment services, both Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and non-GLP, to support target identification and drug development model. The company has three reporting segments: Research Models and Services (RMS), Discovery and Safety Assessment (DSA), and Manufacturing Support (Manufacturing). The company had approximately 11,800 employees as on December 30, 2017.

ICON Public Limited Corporation

The Ireland based ICON Public Limited Corporation has generated revenue of USD 1.758 billion, an increase by nearly 5.52% from previous year. The company specializes in the strategic development, management and analysis of programs that support all stages of the clinical development process – from compound selection to Phase I-IV clinical studies.  The company has achieved organic growth through acquisition of ClinicalRM in 2016. In 2017, ICON continued organic growth expansion through acquisition of MAPI, a health outcomes consultancy that specializes in late-phase research making the company second largest late-phase CRO in the world. ICON currently, operates from 98 locations in 38 countries and has approximately 13,250 employees.

Wuxi Apptec

Wuxi Apptec has generated revenue of USD 1.011 billion, an increase by nearly 10% from previous year. The Chinese company is a contract researcher for most of the largest pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies and many smaller companies. Its portfolio includes small molecule R&D and manufacturing, biologics R&D and manufacturing, cell therapy and gene therapy R&D and manufacturing, medical device testing, and molecular testing and genomics. The company’s platform is enabling nearly 3,000 innovative collaborators from more than 30 countries to bring innovative healthcare products. WuXi AppTec has 14000 employees.

Medpace Holdings, Inc

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Medpace Holdings, Inc has generated revenue of USD 0.436 billion, an increase by nearly 3.56% from previous year. The company is a scientifically-driven, global, full-service clinical contract research organization (CRO) providing Phase I-IV clinical development services. The company has therapeutic expertise across all major areas including oncology, cardiology, metabolic disease, endocrinology, central nervous system and anti-viral and anti-infective. Medpace employs approximately 2,500 people across 35 countries.

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