The global economic crisis has got most businesses pinching pennies just to stay afloat, and the drug development industry is no exception. But at least one area of the biotechnology sector -- contract research organizations (CROs) -- is on the rise.
Image: Wikimedia commons, Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention's
Public Health Image Library
CROs first showed up in the biotech industry in the late 1970s and quickly took on a significant role in research and development (R&D), eventually expanding from drug discovery and preclinical work to clinical trials, drug manufacturing, and even marketing. According to a 2005 Thomson CenterWatch survey, the $15 billion CRO industry was growing at a rate of 12% each year, but data from the past two years show a substantially higher annual growth rate of nearly 17%. In 2007, of the approximately $60 billion biotech and pharmaceutical companies spent on drug development, $15 billion (25%)...

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