CRO Sector – M&A drivers and market trends – Q1 2022

Kunal Kadiwar, Issac Jacob, Lois Groden, Bethany Kersse

Whilst the pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption on research and clinical trials, it has also launched the clinical trial landscape into a new area, one with the enhanced utilisation of decentralised trials and the long-awaited embracement of digital technologies to deliver improved patient care, reduced clinical trial costs and speedier outcomes. We have also seen the emergence of an end-to-end CRO-CDMO model which has been marked by the integration of drug development and manufacturing activities, which have traditionally been operated separately.

With this backdrop in mind, CROs have been scrambling to acquire capabilities that will enable them to build a competitive position in the ‘new normal’ as they strive to become the service provider of choice to biopharma companies.

The last few years have been an exciting watch for deal makers in the CRO space as the sector has experienced robust deal activity, benefiting from the upsurge in the unlocking of clinical trials, fuelled further by the adaptation to the Covid experience and the strong biopharma funding environment.

Looking towards the future, we believe that the fundamental drivers of the sector remain strong which will be reflected in M&A activity levels. We expect the CRO market to continue deal making driven by the desire to add service capabilities or technologies, geographic coverage, specialist skills or extend into adjacencies within the value chain.

In our latest 2022 white paper on the CRO sector, we analyse some of the evolutionary trends observed in recent years and look to the future of deal making within the industry.