Growth Potential of Drug Discovery and Early Development Outsourcing
Growing research and development pipelines of emerging biopharmaceutical and niche technology providers drive competitive intensity
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Frost & Sullivan presents post-COVID-19 growth opportunities and strategic imperatives for the global drug discovery and early development outsourcing market in this study, which covers research and development (R&D) efforts, market trends, key participants, drivers and restraints of market adoption, and recent mergers and acquisitions. The report identifies the evolving competitive landscape and initiatives taken by key contract research organizations (CRO) and contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMO) to adapt to the growing needs of pharmaceutical and biotechnology sponsors.
The drug discovery and early development outsourcing market was worth $19.65 billion in 2020 and is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.4% up to 2026, with North America continuing to lead the market. In terms of overall R&D expenditure, the contribution of large pharmaceutical companies is steadily declining due to their focus on leaner portfolios. In contrast, the contribution of emerging biotechnology companies to drug development has grown more than 80% since 2018. Pharmaceutical companies are directing their R&D spending mainly toward strengthening their oncology portfolio, and increasing year-on-year acquisitions of clinical-stage biopharmaceutical companies focusing on oncology therapy suggesting both the potential of new technologies and a promising return on investments for these assets. Leading CROs and CDMOs are also focused on oncology, with anticancer drugs reportedly contributing the highest to the drug development pipeline in 2020. COVID-19-related drug discovery and early development research is projected to slow down in 2022 as most projects would have advanced to the clinical research stage by then. When pandemic-related restrictions are lifted, a surge in outsourcing for the next two years is expected as companies resume their non-COVID-19 drug discovery programs that were stalled during the pandemic.
In the United States and Europe, testing service providers with best-in-class good laboratory practices (GLP) and good track records are the preferred partner for completing investigational new drugs–enabling studies. Global CROs may have in-house capabilities, but pharmaceutical companies still prefer independent validation from specialists to minimize the risk of failure early on in the development life cyclebefore moving towards regulatory filing. Key industry participants are positioning themselves to be end-to-end integrated service providers for pharmaceutical and biotechnology sponsors.. The growing demand for end-to-end integrated drug discovery and development support is closing the gap that distinguishes a CRO from a CDMO.The promise of artificial intelligence in drug discovery, along with novel approaches to target “undruggable” RNA, is set to drive small molecule drug discovery and outsourcing. The growth in biologics is expected to boost the need for better disease models and advanced in vivo pharmacology capabilities. Exploring novel expression systems to support the urgent needs of infectious disease management is expected to gain momentum especially as the industry favors single-use reactors for future biotherapeutics.
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