Growing by over 8% a year, the global market for Contract Research Organizations (CRO) is expected to reach over $6 billion by 2025. This rising demand is being driven primarily by the growth preclinical services outsourcing as well as factors such as an increase in complex drug candidates entering preclinical studies and increasing concerns to reduce research and development costs.
The Benefits of a Technology-Driven Supply Chain
New opportunities are arising from the availability of precise, minimally invasive and clinically compatible techniques. This is enabling researchers to benefit from the availability of spontaneous analogues of human disease in animals. Comparative medicine can look forward to opportunities to leverage post-genomic technologies and advances in analytical techniques such as bioinformatics and machine learning, to develop better and more representative animal models for studying critical diseases.
In an optimal preclinical and clinical supply chain, the right systems and personnel are in the right place when the right quantity of investigational product arrives at the right time. Companies can improve cost transparency in the preclinical supply chain through advanced category management and readiness to adapt to emerging technologies. Earlier detection is preferred in preclinical testing due to safety concerns. CROs are expected to continue pushing the development of earlier screening options, through in-vivo pharmacokinetic / pharmacodynamic studies. This will help with detecting the formation of harmful metabolites. Furthermore, innovative methods are required to assess the potential for toxicity with high-content data. The need for earlier detection in preclinical testing is expected to rise by 2025, along with the rise in demand for technology changes and a greater emphasis on the ethical use of animals.
Laboratory Mice Lives Matter
The ethical use of animals has always been a focus of the CRO industry. Recently, however, there have been more focused efforts to minimize the use of animals in pre-clinical research. Leading pharmaceutical companies are actively implementing the “3Rs” (replacement, reduction and refinement) of animals used in research. For instance, Sanofi carries out no research on animals in the UK. They have active collaborations with other pharmaceutical companies and competent authorities that foster the development of good practices and alternative approaches across biomedical research.
Precision medicine, sensors, 3D bioprinting and micro-sampling are some of the technologies being used to eliminate the need for animal test subjects in clinical studies. Responding to pressure on the ethics of animal testing, as well as the costs and risks associated with clinical trials; pharmaceutical companies are adopting digitization to increase the efficiency of the overall clinical trial process. In addition to adopting current-day techniques, the development of emerging technologies such as transgenic animal breeding and investigative toxicology will help address issues related to animal testing in the industry.
What Does the Future Hold?
The wide application areas for toxicology and drug screening, along with growing technological advancements, are leading to the development of novel screening products as well as an increase in the availability of high-end drug screening instruments, reagent, and kits. Simultaneously, many companies are adapting advanced technologies to reduce, refine, and replace the use of animals in pre-clinical research. These factors combined are helping support preclinical testing and are ultimately driving the growth of the global pre-clinical CRO market.