Phase I CRO Benchmarking (13th Ed.)


We know many sponsor companies turn to CROs for the heavy lifting of their clinical development programs. Finding the service provider best suited to meet trial needs and ensuring that provider can meet performance expectations constitutes the onerous and time-intensive decision-making process that companies take on if they need to outsource any or all components of their clinical trials. In other words, companies need a reliable resource to shed light on CRO selection and CRO performance. This report is that resource. We aim to alleviate some of the stress associated with this process by enhancing your ability to make informed decisions.

This year’s report includes insights from 191 experienced Phase I outsourcers and more than 500 service provider encounters. What does the outsourcing community consider when it comes to CRO selection? Which providers are favored by respondents and where do providers fall regarding cost perceptions? Explore these measures and more to help frame all that goes into CRO selection. Whether you’re a sponsor or provider, use this research to glean what you need to make the best decisions possible for your clinical development programs and service offerings.

Cover page for 2021 Phase 1 CRO Benchmarking


  • Learn which service providers your company should keep in mind for your clinical development programs by identifying how your peers’ expectations line up with individual CROs
  • Better understand CRO customer loyalty based on overall customer satisfaction, willingness to recommend and likelihood to use again
  • Find out which Phase I-specific attributes motivate outsourcing selection, and evaluate verbatim responses from recent customers on CRO performance

Service Providers:

  • Contrast how your company measures up against your competitors across 22 attributes grouped by Budget, Delivery, Staff, Accessibility, and Services
  • Discover how to enhance your marketing messaging by concentrating on the areas in which customers say you shine compared to the competition
  • Determine which factors influence sponsor outsourcing preferences, and which factors are becoming more significant for future outsourcing
  • Service Provider Selection Process
  • Service Provider Perceptions and Interactions
  • Service Provider Performance and Loyalty
  • Company Service Quality Profiles

ISR understands that you’re looking for confidence in your market research. With ISR, you’ll consistently receive

  • Focused Domain Expertise — We’ve operated in pharmaceuticals for over 15 years and because it’s our sole focus, our domain expertise brings value to the work that “generalist” researchers can’t deliver.
  • Genuine Research Expertise — Our market research experience has developed over 20 years in many dynamic industries.  We capture appropriate sample sizes, given the research objectives, and we use appropriately sophisticated statistics to uncover everything that’s real and to give you confidence in your decisions. Read our Six Questions to Ask About Your Market Research to learn more about why our industry expertise sets us apart.
  • Transparency — If you’re like many, you’ve been disappointed more than once by research providers who fail to live up to their promises, providing you with their “professional judgment” in place of sound data; and suspect contacts instead of real decision-makers. We deliver the beliefs, attitudes, and intentions of people who matter – and we’ll prove it by showing you the titles of your respondents.

For additional questions about any of ISR’s reports or custom research services, please contact us at

2021 Phase 1 Benchmarking Sample Page "For Marketing Professionals"

Service Provider Selection Process

Primary Section Takeaways
Preferred Provider Agreements
Selection Attributes
Use of Outside Consultants for CRO Identification and Selection

Select Respondent Comments

Service Provider Perceptions and Interactions

Primary Section Takeaways
Phase I Leadership, Familiarity, and Use
Service Provider Preference
Service Provider Preference among Users
Cost Perceptions
Cost Experience among Users
Summary Table

Service Provider Performance and Loyalty

Primary Section Takeaways
A Note on Harvey Ball Calculations
Performance Across Service Providers
Figure 1 – Budget Factors
Figure 2 – Delivery Factors
Figure 3 – Staff Characteristics
Figure 4 – Accessibility
Figure 5 – Services
Customer Loyalty: 2021
Customer Loyalty: 3-Year Rolling Average

Company Service Quality Profiles

Syneos Health
Worldwide Clinical Trials

Study Data

Phase I Leaders, Unprompted
Other Responses
Phase I Leaders, Prompted
Service Provider Familiarity
Service Provider Usage
Service Provider Preference
Service Provider Differentiation
Service Provider Cost Perceptions
Use of Preferred Providers
Number of Preferred Providers
Selection Drivers: Selecting among Preferred Providers
Preferred Provider Attributes Gaining Importance
Selection Drivers: When Not Using Preferred Providers
Selection Drivers: No Preferred Providers
Service Provider Attributes Gaining Importance: No Preferred Providers
Use of Outside Consultants for CRO Identification and Selection
Outside Consultant Assistance

Service Provider Drill-downs

Algorithme Pharma (Altasciences)
BioPharma Services Inc.
Catalyst Clinical Research
CTI Clinical Trial & Consulting
High Point Clinical Trial Center
Linical Accelovance
Pharm-Olam International
Quotient Clinical
SGS Life Sciences
Syneos Health
TKL Research
Vince & Associates (Altasciences)
WCCT Global
Worldwide Clinical Trials


Company Type
Headquarters Location
Office Location
Job Title
Decision-making Responsibility
Outsourcing Involvement by Phase
Involvement in Clinical Development
Therapeutic Areas of Responsibility
Years of Industry Experience

Additional information


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