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Biopharma Ecosystem R&D

Contract Research Organization

What is a Contract Research Organization?

A contract research organization (CRO) is a firm that provides services to pharmaceutical companies around the conduct of various research activities including activities in discovery, preclinical, clinical development, or any other research activity including real world evidence generation. CROs have grown in use in recent years as pharma and biotech companies try to remain lean in terms of internal organizations.

Pharma companies contract with CROs to execute on specific studies and they own the overall direction of the study and what should be done including in the execution phase around specific decisions that need to be made. The CRO often does the actual day-to-day management of the study logistics.

Examples of large CROs include Covance, Syneos, and IQVIA.