Global trials growth driving CRO consolidation, says M&A report

Global trials growth driving CRO consolidation, says M&A report

Increased emphasis on global clinical trials is promoting consolidation of contract research organisations (CROs), according to an industry report by M&A services firm 11T Partners.

According to the report on Outsourced Pharma Services, the US and Europe dominate the number of clinical trials performed worldwide, holding 24% and 42% respectively. However, growth in emerging countries is outpacing the developed markets with the number of trials in China growing upwards of 40% compared to single-digit growth in Europe and the US.

The increased emphasis on global trials and low-cost trial design is contributing to the growth differential, the report continues, and such requirements are “benefiting large global players,” who have such global capacity “and promoting consolidation” within the industry.

Earlier this month, Parexel acquired Atlas Medical Services as a bolt-on, gaining full-service capacity and capability in Turkey and the MENA (Middle-East, North Africa) region.

Parexel is the fourth largest clinical services firm by revenue, according to 11T, after Quintiles, Covance, and PRA, in an industry where the top eight players control around 62% of the market. (PPD, Icon, INC and inVentiv Health take places 5-8, respectively.)

However, nearly all the top players have expanded their global presence through mergers and acquisitions, with PRA benefitting from sites in Asia and Latin America in its merger with RPS last year, while INC stretched its international reach in 2011, buying Kendle who had operations in 31 countries for $232m (€156m).

The report also notes the industry was worth $24bn last year, and is set to reach $33bn by 2018, led predominantly by revenues from late stage projects, which represents approximately 75% of the CRO landscape.

The chart below gives a full breakdown of the current revenues across the CRO segment:

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