Preclinical CRO Market Will Hit USD 10.5 Billion by 2032

Trishita Deb
Trishita Deb

Updated · May 7, 2024


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The global preclinical Contract Research Organization (CRO) market is anticipated to expand significantly, with a projected growth from USD 5.2 billion in 2022 to USD 10.5 billion by 2032, achieving a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.5% over the forecast period. This market growth is primarily driven by increased investments in drug discovery and development, alongside the rising demand for outsourcing preclinical studies to CROs which offer specialized services such as bioanalysis, toxicology testing, and drug metabolism and pharmacokinetic (DMPK) studies.

Several factors are propelling the growth of the preclinical CRO market. The increasing prevalence of chronic diseases necessitates the development of new pharmaceuticals, further boosting the demand for preclinical research. Regions such as North America are leading in market share due to advanced healthcare infrastructure and the presence of major pharmaceutical companies that heavily invest in R&D. Conversely, Asia Pacific is expected to witness the fastest growth due to cost efficiencies and a favorable regulatory environment that attracts outsourcing of preclinical studies.

However, the market faces challenges including stringent regulatory policies which may slow down the market growth. Regulatory bodies like the U.S. FDA and European Medicines Agency (EMA) enforce strict standards that preclinical CROs must adhere to, which can complicate the approval processes for new drugs.

Parexel International Corporation, a leading clinical research organization (CRO), has significantly strengthened its market stance through acquisitions, strategic alliances, and technology integration. In July 2021, EQT Private Equity and Goldman Sachs Asset Management acquired Parexel in an $8.5 billion transaction, aimed at expanding its global presence and enhancing services such as decentralized clinical trials and data management.

In a move to harness artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, Parexel formed a strategic alliance with Partex in August 2023. This partnership is designed to boost the success rates of biopharmaceutical clients’ projects by identifying new potential disease applications for their assets.

Further extending its reach, Parexel joined forces with the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research in January 2024. This collaboration focuses on improving access to oncology clinical trials in Japan, thereby increasing the efficiency of clinical research and broadening patient treatment options.

The CRO sector continues to witness significant consolidation globally, as illustrated by FHI Clinical’s acquisition of Triclinium Clinical Development’s trial operations in South Africa and the purchase of Syneos Health by a consortium including Elliott Investment Management, Patient Square Capital, and Veritas Capital for approximately $7.1 billion. These mergers and acquisitions aim to enhance service capabilities and extend geographic coverage.

Preclinical CRO Market Size
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Preclinical CRO Statistics

  • The Preclinical CRO Market is projected to expand from USD 5.2 Billion in 2022 to approximately USD 10.5 Billion by 2032, achieving a CAGR of 7.5%.
  • In 2022, toxicology testing was the highest revenue contributor within the service segments of the Preclinical CRO Market.
  • The Patient-Determined Organoid (PDO) Model segment dominated the market by model type, accounting for 80% of the total market share.
  • Pharmaceutical and Biopharmaceutical Organizations emerged as the primary end users, capturing a significant market share in 2022.
  • North America held a dominant market position, contributing 47.50% to the market share in 2022.
  • The Asia Pacific region is expected to experience significant growth, marked by a substantial CAGR during the forecast period.

Emerging Trends

  • Global Expansion and Outsourcing: There is an increasing trend towards globalization in the preclinical CRO sector. Companies are expanding their operations globally to leverage diverse patient populations, specialized expertise, and cost-effective solutions. This is particularly evident in emerging markets like the Asia-Pacific region, which is expected to grow rapidly due to the cost efficiencies offered by CROs in countries like India and China​.
  • Technological Advancements: The integration of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, high-throughput screening, and advanced analytics is playing a crucial role in the preclinical CRO market. These technologies enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of preclinical research, giving a competitive edge to CROs that adopt them​​.
  • Increased Focus on Specialized Areas: The market is seeing a rise in demand for services in specialized therapeutic areas such as immuno-oncology, gene therapy, and precision medicine. Preclinical CROs that offer specialized expertise in these areas are likely to see increased demand​ ​ (Global Market Insights Inc.)​.
  • Strategic Alliances and Mergers: There is a notable increase in mergers and acquisitions within the preclinical CRO space as companies aim to expand their service offerings and geographic reach. This trend is also driven by the need to enhance comprehensive service capabilities from pre-clinical through clinical phases​.
  • Regulatory Support and Challenges: The preclinical CRO market is also influenced by regulatory environments. For instance, changes in drug approval processes or safety regulations can significantly impact market dynamics. Companies that can navigate these regulatory challenges effectively are better positioned for success.

Use Cases

  • Drug Safety and Efficacy Testing: Preclinical CROs conduct extensive testing to assess the safety and efficacy of new pharmaceutical compounds before they proceed to clinical trials. This includes toxicology testing, safety pharmacology, and DMPK (drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics) studies​.
  • Support for Various Therapeutic Areas: They provide specialized services across different therapeutic areas such as oncology, neurology, and cardiology, which are crucial for developing treatments for diseases prevalent within these categories. For example, the oncology segment has seen significant growth due to the high demand for effective cancer therapeutics​.
  • Early Research and Proof-Of-Concept Studies: Preclinical CROs are integral in conducting early research activities, including proof-of-concept and first-in-human studies. These studies are essential for determining the potential efficacy and target population for new therapies before they move into more extensive clinical trials​.
  • Regulatory Compliance and Submission: They assist in ensuring that all preclinical testing complies with global regulatory standards such as Good Laboratory Practice (GLP). This is critical for the approval process of new drugs, ensuring that all data submitted to regulatory bodies like the FDA or EMA is accurate and reliable​.

Key Players Analysis

  • PAREXEL International Corporation, a leading global clinical research organization, actively participates in the preclinical contract research organization (CRO) sector, providing extensive Phase I to IV clinical development services. Renowned for its commitment to operational excellence and strong relationships with investigative sites, PAREXEL emphasizes enhancing the efficiency of clinical trials, including preclinical stages, which are crucial for advancing life-saving treatments.
  • Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (Labcorp) significantly contributes to the preclinical CRO sector through its specialized segment, Labcorp Drug Development. This segment enhances its market position by participating in innovative collaborations and strategic acquisitions, such as the purchase of Omniseq, which strengthens its oncology portfolio. These efforts underscore Labcorp’s commitment to advancing pharmaceutical research by offering comprehensive preclinical and clinical trial management services, thereby supporting the development of new drugs​.
  • Medpace, Inc., a full-service clinical contract research organization (CRO), excels in the preclinical CRO sector by providing comprehensive Phase I-IV clinical development services. They support the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries, focusing on accelerating the development of safe and effective medical therapeutics. Medpace is recognized for its scientific rigor and disciplined approach, offering core services like clinical pharmacology, central laboratories, bioanalytical testing, and more.
  • Envigo Corporation operates within the growing preclinical CRO sector, offering crucial services for drug development and research. The company stands out in a competitive market expected to expand significantly, with a strong presence in various regions, including North America and Europe. Envigo’s offerings help streamline the early phases of drug development, addressing the increasing demand for efficient and effective preclinical research services.
  • Charles River Laboratories excels in the preclinical CRO sector, with a strong emphasis on collaboration and leadership in global research. Established in 1947, it has grown into a public company with about 8,000 employees worldwide, operating over 65 facilities across 16 countries. The company supports a wide array of clients including major pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, providing comprehensive services from basic research and discovery to safety assessments and clinical support. This extensive network enables Charles River to effectively manage preclinical trials and anticipate the evolving needs of drug development.
  • PRA Health Sciences, established in 1976 and acquired by ICON in 2021, has significantly impacted the preclinical CRO sector. Known for its comprehensive drug development services, PRA continues to strengthen its position by focusing on enhancing clinical trial processes and expanding its therapeutic areas beyond its original focus on inflammation. As part of ICON, PRA leverages extensive resources to deliver advanced healthcare intelligence and support crucial pharmaceutical and biotechnological innovations.
  • Covance Inc, a leading player in the Preclinical Contract Research Organization (CRO) sector, offers comprehensive services in drug development. With a focus on safety assessment, pharmacology, and toxicology studies, Covance facilitates the preclinical phase of drug discovery. According to recent industry data, Covance boasts a significant market share, benefiting from its extensive capabilities in laboratory services and scientific expertise. The company’s strategic partnerships and global presence position it as a trusted partner in bringing new therapeutics to market.


In conclusion, the preclinical Contract Research Organization (CRO) market is poised for substantial growth, fueled by escalating investments in drug development and the growing preference for outsourcing specialized preclinical services. Key drivers include the need for new treatments spurred by the rise in chronic diseases and technological advancements that enhance research efficacy. North America currently leads in market share, while Asia Pacific is expected to see rapid growth. However, the sector must navigate complex regulatory landscapes which pose potential challenges. Strategic acquisitions and alliances, alongside technological integrations, are pivotal trends shaping the future of this industry, ensuring CROs remain essential in the evolving landscape of pharmaceutical research.

Trishita Deb

Trishita Deb

Trishita has more than 7 years of experience in market research and consulting industry. She has worked in various domains including healthcare, consumer goods, and materials. Her expertise lies majorly in healthcare and has worked on more than 400 healthcare reports throughout her career.