ACRO Survey Shows Strong Growth of CRO Industry


Company News Release

Members boast 100,000 employees, conduct clinical trials in 142 countries

Members of the Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO) have more than doubled in size in the past 10 years and now employ more than 100,000 research professionals worldwide with a global payroll of nearly $6 billion. Over the same period, member company revenues have increased 180% (10.8% CAGR) to an estimated $14.2 billion, or approximately two-thirds of contract biopharmaceutical development spending, demonstrating the strong demand for CRO services by pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies.

Commenting on the latest survey findings, ACRO Chairman Ciaran Murray, CEO of ICON plc said: “As ACRO members we pride ourselves on the safety, quality and efficiency of the research we conduct. We are also at the forefront of innovation which is enhancing the development process and delivering better outcomes for our customers. Some recent areas of focus include adaptive trial designs, enhanced patient access, data analytics, predictive technologies and access to real-world evidence data.”

Throughout the next month, ACRO will be unveiling a series of case studies that highlight CRO innovation, as well as a video series focusing several of these topics. Last week ACRO named House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, (R-MI) and Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) as the association’s Legislators of the Year. Upton was recognized for his leadership on the bi-partisan 21st Century Cures initiative and Carper was commended for his introduction of the COMPETE Act (S. 2715), which permanently extends and modernizes the research & development tax credit while acknowledging the role contract research plays in helping to bring groundbreaking new medical products to market.

Among the other key findings of the ACRO member survey are:

  • ACRO members contributed to the development of 85 of the 88 new drugs approved by the FDA and EMA last year and all of the top 20 selling drugs;

  • ACRO members contributed to the development of 19 of the 20 biosimilars that have been approved globally (no biosimilars have yet been approved in the US);

  • Among the most researched indications by CROs are, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, hepatitis, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and vaccines;

  • In 2013, ACRO members conducted more than 9,000 clinical trials involving 1.4 million patients in 142 countries, from Albania to Zimbabwe;

  • On average, each ACRO member works with more than 500 research sponsors and approximately 27,000 research sites annually;

  • In 2013, ACRO members invested more than $500 million in technology and infrastructure to support research and development activities;

  • ACRO members delivered more than 100 million central laboratory test results and managed more than 1 million square feet of lab space in 13 countries;

  • The top US states for CRO employment are North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas and California; the top European locations for CRO employment are the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain;

  • The average number of participants in a clinical trial, by phase, across all therapeutic areas, are 26 for Phase I, 92 for Phase II, 399 for Phase III and 772 for Phase IV.

Note: Survey results are not comparable to past ACRO member surveys because of the variance in the number of companies reporting in various categories and changes to research methodology meant to better reflect CRO market size and activity. The survey was designed and administered by Industry Standard Research, which has also provided estimates where appropriate.

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