It’s certainly true that pharmaceutical companies are under intense pressure to replenish pipelines and reverse a trend in which R&D returns are falling below the costs of capital. These financial pressures, along with the need for cost containment efficiencies and time-to-market improvements, have made outsourcing an increasingly attractive option. And yet based on published statistics, it is clear that the sponsor/CRO model still needs to evolve further to address and reverse these trends.
The demand for clinical and non-clinical outsourcing services is growing steadily—estimated at a nearly 11% compound annual growth rate through 2011. And while the number of molecules in development is increasing, with over 2,900 currently in industry pipelines, the number of new molecules reaching the market remains relatively flat.
As a result of these productivity challenges, new models of partnership are emerging with the industry increasingly seeking and leveraging longer-term, strategic partnerships with CROs. For this approach to be successful, however, both CROs and the pharmaceutical industry must transform in order to create partnerships that will drive gains in productivity, catalyze development cycles, and lead to more effective use of resources.