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Top 10 Global Clinical Research Organizations in 2021

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In 2020, a global outbreak of the new crown epidemic disrupted the business activities of almost all companies, and the drug R&D and production of pharmaceutical companies was no exception. As a CRO/CDMO company serving pharmaceutical companies, its market share and global ranking have also changed when the global market order is chaotic.

   2021 Global CRO Ranking TOP10

RankCompany2020 Revenue / Billion of dollarsCompare with 2019Staff in 2020
9Charles River29.211.50%17000

Note: ①This list covers CRO in a broad sense, and its business areas cover pre-clinical research, clinical trials, pharmaceutical development, and commissioned production of raw materials and drugs (CDMO and CMO) related to new drug research and development; ②The two data of ICON+PRA are directly related Plus; ③Lonza’s income is 4.5 billion Swiss francs, and the exchange rate is converted to US dollars at 1.1; ④Catalent’s fiscal year is July 2019 to June 2020; ⑤Wuxi includes Wuxi AppTec and WuXi Biologics, and the combined income is converted to US dollars at an exchange rate of 6.8; ⑥Parexel has been delisted after being acquired by a consortium in 2017. Only the income announced in 2018 is here for reference.

Medicilon is a professional pharmaceutical preclinical integrated R&D service contract research organization (CRO), providing a full range of one-stop new drug R&D services, in compliance with Chinese and international filing standards, to pharmaceutical companies and research institutions around the world. Our services cover the entire process of preclinical new drug research, including drug discovery, pharmacology research and preclinical research. Our drug discovery services include chemical synthesis, compound activity screening and optimization, structural biology research, protein target validation, etc.; Pharmacological researches include process research of API and formulation, quality standards and stability research, etc.; Preclinical researches include pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, toxicological safety evaluation, etc.

   Judging from the TOP10 list, the top two CRO companies in the world both have revenues of more than 10 billion U.S. dollars, which is a huge gap with the players behind them, and the dominant position is unbreakable. ICON’s acquisition of PRA has become a major event in the industry, which has greatly improved the ranking of the new company’s business scale, making it the third largest in the world in one fell swoop.

   Syneos is the only company on the list that has shrunk in performance (Parexel is not known), while WuXi is the only Chinese element on the list. Its growth rate is far ahead, and its ranking is steadily rising. Mainly because under the new crown virus epidemic, China was the first to restore order to resume work and production, and a large number of orders were transferred to China. Charles River, which once gave up the acquisition of WuXi, has now been surpassed by WuXi.

   Labcorp and Catalent have also benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic, including the testing business and the vaccine production business, respectively. Companies with a larger proportion of clinical research businesses are more affected by the pandemic, but generally recover in the fourth quarter of 2020.

   This article gives a brief introduction to the world’s TOP10 CRO companies.

  NO.1 LabCorp

The main business of LabCorp is clinical diagnostics. After successive acquisitions of Covance and Chiltern, it has entered the field of drug research and development, whether it is preclinical research or clinical research. One of the global leaders. After these two big mergers and acquisitions, the company has become the world’s largest CRO.

   In 2020, the company’s revenue is approaching US$14 billion, an increase of 21% over the previous year. Affected by the new crown virus epidemic, most industries and companies around the world are facing varying degrees of impact, but it is very good for the company’s diagnostic business. The new crown virus testing business contributed as much as 24.1% to the 2020 annual performance.

  The company has a large and complete laboratory system not only in North America, but also in the world. In 2020, the total number of global employees will reach 75,000.

  NO.2 IQVIA (Ai Kunwei)

   Although IQVIA is slightly lower than Labcorp in terms of performance and size, the industry generally believes that IQVIA’s influence is greater than Labcorp, which means I have to mention the company’s predecessor.

   In 2016, Quintiles and IMS Health merged to form IQVIA, which became the most important event in the industry that year. These two companies are the leaders and the gold standard in their respective subdivisions. Such a strong combination will inevitably lead to a giant, but because Labcorp has entered the field of drug research and development in about the same time, it has to be resigned. However, in the subdivision field, each has its own unique advantages.

   In 2020, the company’s revenue was 11.36 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of only 2.% compared with the previous year. The main reason is that clinical research is affected by the new crown virus and the progress is slow, especially in North America. Fortunately, in the fourth quarter, various businesses have clearly recovered, and it can be predicted that the growth in 2021 will be better than that in 2020.

   In 2020, IQVIA will have 70,000 employees worldwide.


  PRA’s revenue in 2020 was US$3.183 billion, an increase of 3.8% over the previous year; while ICON’s revenue in 2020 was US$2.797 billion, a decrease of 0.3% over the previous year. The two companies have 19,000 and 16,000 employees respectively.

   In February 2021, ICON announced the acquisition of PRA for US$12 billion. The new company will achieve growth of more than 10% in the first year, and will grow by more than 20% in the future.

   These two were originally in the global TOP10. Relatively speaking, ICON is slightly smaller than PRA, but this does not prevent ICON from acquiring PRA in a way that small fish eat big fish. After the merger, the new company came to the third place in the world in one fell swoop.

  NO.4 Lonza (Lonza)

  Lonza is undisputedly the world’s largest CDMO company.

   The Lonza Group operates two major businesses, of which the Lonza Special Ingredients business (LSI) focuses on the microbial control of personal care products, and the volume within the group is relatively small. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology and nutrition business (LPBN) is Lonza’s main source of income, covering from early discovery, customized development to the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients and innovative dosage forms, and is a well-known CDMO business in the industry.

   In 2020, the company’s revenue will be 4.5 billion Swiss francs, achieving 12.5% growth. The company also decided to divest the relatively small special component business and make structural adjustments to make the business more focused and improve transparency, productivity and operational efficiency.

   In response to the new coronavirus epidemic, Lonza used global production capacity to provide a full range of development and production services for Moderna’s new coronavirus RNA vaccine (mRNA-1273), with an estimated annual production capacity of 1 billion doses.

  NO.5 PPD

   PPD, founded in 1985 by Fred Eshelman, Ph.D., had its first IPO in 1996. In 2011, the company was privatized with a US$3.9 billion acquisition. It will be listed again on Nasdaq in the United States in 2020.

   I have to say that PPD has made great moves in China, including the completion of two mergers and acquisitions in China in 2009, and the acquisition of Igus and Baonuo, which were large in China at that time. Among them, Baonuo founder John V. Oyler founded BeiGene in 2010.

   PPD’s 2020 revenue is 4.68 billion U.S. dollars, achieving 16.1% growth.

  NO.6 Syneos Health

   In 2017, INC Research and Inventiv Health merged to form Syneos Health, which once climbed to the third position in the world.

   In 2020, the company’s revenue was 4.42 billion U.S. dollars. It is the only company on the list that has suffered negative growth in performance due to the impact of the new crown virus epidemic, and its ranking has also declined.

  NO.7 WuXi

Although WuXi Biologics and WuXi PharmaTech are two independently-operated listed companies, considering that WuXi Biologics originated from WuXi PharmaTech and the chairman of the two companies is the same person, the two companies are referred to as WuXi PharmaTech. Department of consolidated calculations.

   WuXi’s business covers all aspects of new drug research and development, almost all-encompassing and omnipotent, and it is already a global giant. Although it has not yet become the global leader, the influence that everyone feels is undoubtedly insurmountable by its peers.

  The consolidated revenue of WuXi in 2020 is approximately US$3.26 billion, an increase of 31.4% over 2019. The number of employees reached 32,000. Regardless of income or personnel, the growth rate is far ahead of its peers. And judging from the development trend in recent years, it will still maintain rapid growth.

   The negative impact of the new crown virus epidemic on the company is small in scope, mild in severity and short in time. On the contrary, the epidemic has played a major role in promoting performance to some extent. On the one hand, the company has undertaken a number of R&D and production projects related to the new crown virus. On the other hand, the raging overseas epidemic has caused some orders to be transferred to China.

  NO.8 Catalent

   Catalent was established in 2007, and its expertise is in the production and packaging of preparations, including oral, injection and respiratory administration methods. In fact, the company’s history can be traced back to Scherer, which was established in 1933. The company developed a rotary pressing equipment for soft capsules, which also explains Catalent’s global leadership in soft capsule production. In 2014, the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

   Catalent’s full fiscal year is different. Most of them are based on the calendar year, while Catalent is from July to June of the following year. For example, the fiscal year 2020 is from July 2019 to June 2020. The company’s operating income for fiscal year 2020 was US$3.094 billion, a year-on-year increase of 22.89%.

  The new coronavirus vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson is produced by Catalent.

  NO.9 Charles River

The company’s business has three main parts: Research Models and Services (RMS), Discovery and Safety Assessment (DSA), and Manufacturing Support. In short, they are animal models, safety evaluation, and production. .

  The company’s revenue in 2017 was US$2.92 billion, an increase of nearly 11.5% over the previous year. It has approximately 17,000 employees worldwide.

   In 2010, Charles River prepared to acquire WuXi AppTec for a total price of US$1.6 billion. Because the plan was opposed by the company’s shareholders, the agreement had to be unilaterally terminated and WuXi AppTec paid 30 million US dollars for the break-up fee. Since then, WuXi AppTec has firmed its own development path and started a drastic expansion plan with this break-up fee. As the so-called “Hedong in ten years, Hexi in ten years”, Charles River has now been surpassed by WuXi. I don’t know how the shareholders who voted against it felt. Just in time for the sentence: “Yesterday you were indifferent to me, but today I let you not be able to climb high.”

  NO.10 Parexel

   In 2017, the British private equity firm Pamplona Capital Management announced the completion of the US$5 billion acquisition of Parexel. Parexel subsequently delisted. Since then, its performance has not been announced. Here we refer to the data released in 2018, which is 2.5 billion US dollars and about 19,000 employees. It stands to reason that both figures have increased in the past three years, but the specifics are unknown.

   In 2021, the company decided to divest the information system and medical imaging business, which also includes the clinical trial management system, electronic data acquisition system, and registration management system. The new company, Calyx, has 2,300 employees. As a result, Parexel’s revenue and scale will shrink.

   In addition to traditional clinical research, Parexel is characterized by the preparation of registration documents and the ability to communicate with the drug administration department. The reason for this feature is that Jingding has a self-developed registration and declaration management system (eCTD software), and that it has established a strong registration and declaration team, of which more than 100 have been in the mainstream pharmaceutical market. Reviewers who have worked in government departments.

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