Report: Big CROs soared 10% last year

Despite concerns about slashed R&D budgets, overexpansion and consolidation, the titans of the CRO business are still posting double-digit growth, clocking $13.6 billion in 2012, according to a report.

That's a 10% annual revenue jump, according to GlobalData, which charted the performance of roughly 40 of the world's largest contract researchers. Much of that growth reflects a top-heavy industry, GlobalData notes, as Quintiles ($Q) and its 12.1% annual growth padded the group's total, chipping in $3.7 billion. Same goes for Covance ($CVD), which grew 4% to $2 billion last year.

But the real story is taking place in emerging markets, GlobalData said, as the top CROs increased their revenue in places like China and India by about 14.6%, outpacing global growth. That's unlikely to change anytime soon, GlobalData analyst Adam Dion said, as CROs are still scrambling to expand in high-growth geographies.

"Asia, Central and South America, as well as Eastern Europe have become attractive regions for pharmaceutical outsourcing as a result of easy access to a large number of treatments, low labor and manufacturing costs, and highly skilled medical workforces," Dion said in a statement.

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- read GlobalData's release