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Global Virtual Clinical Trials Market - Outlook and Forecast 2022-2027
The global virtual clinical trials market is projected to reach USD 5.10 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 17.59% from 2022 to 2027. Virtual clinical trials, also known as decentralized clinical trials, offer an innovative approach to traditional clinical trials by enabling remote monitoring and adopting patient-centric approaches. The adoption of virtual clinical trials significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a shift towards decentralized or hybrid clinical trial models.
Traditionally, the adoption of virtual clinical trials was slow, but it has gained momentum in recent years. These trials involve the use of digital tools and technological processes to bring trials from healthcare settings to patients’ homes or workplaces. By reducing site visits, associated time, and costs, virtual clinical trials overcome barriers to trial participation and improve patient retention and recruitment. These advantages have fueled the growth of the market.
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USD 1.9 billion in 2020
Study Type, Phases, Therapeutic Area, Company Size, and Geography
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Digital tools such as clinical trial monitoring devices, software, eCOA & ePRO, and eConsent play a crucial role in powering virtual clinical trial activities, enabling better data collection, analysis, and interpretation. The bring-your-own-devices strategy, where participants use their own internet-enabled solutions to provide data, has gained acceptance among CROs and sponsors. Technological advancements and increased confidence in improved study outcomes are driving the adoption of these new solutions.
Another emerging approach in the virtual clinical trials market is the synthetic control arm, which uses synthetic clinical trial methods to collect and compare data. This approach addresses the challenge of finding participants for clinical trials and is expected to drive significant growth. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is also being integrated into clinical trials to expedite target validation, clinical trial design, and patient identification for virtual clinical trials.
The COVID-19 pandemic has played a significant role in shifting the industry towards virtual clinical trials. The rapid spread of COVID-19 posed challenges to traditional clinical trials, leading to the widespread adoption of decentralized clinical trial activities during the pandemic. Approximately 87% of clinical trial sponsors and contract research organizations decentralized their activities during this period, compared to only 28% before the pandemic.
Market players and industry pioneers recognize that decentralization is the future of clinical trials. In recent years, decentralization has grown rapidly in the industry, offering the potential to overcome geographic constraints through digital health platforms, mobile technology, and local healthcare segments.
Regulatory agencies worldwide, including the FDA, MHRA, EMA, CDE, and HSA, have made regulatory changes favoring virtual clinical trials in response to the COVID-19 crisis. These regulatory developments have further accelerated the adoption of virtual clinical trials.
Despite the market’s growth prospects, there are challenges associated with virtual clinical trials. These include the high initial implementation costs, concerns about data reliability and integrity, and varying state laws and regulations. Additionally, the increasing use of digital tools raises cybersecurity risks that need to be addressed for the sustainable growth of the virtual clinical trials market.
The market is segmented based on various factors, including study type, phases, therapeutic area, company size, and geography.
Segmentation by Study Type
Segmentation by Phases
Segmentation by Therapeutic Area
Rare & Genetic Diseases
Segmentation by Company Size
Small & Mid-Sized
Segmentation by Geography
North America – US, Canada
Europe – Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain
APAC – China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia
Latin America – Brazil, Mexico, Argentina
Middle East & Africa – South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Turkey
The global virtual clinical trials market is divided into different study types, namely interventional and others. The interventional study type segment holds a significantly higher market share of 80.15% and dominates the other segments. This can be attributed to the increased research and development (R&D) activities in the medical industry, leading to a rise in clinical trials. The demand for virtual clinical trial platforms is particularly high in the interventional study type due to the growing use of digital tools for data collection and analysis. Furthermore, the surge in SARS-COV-2 infections has resulted in a higher number of clinical trials for vaccine development between 2020 and 2022, further driving the adoption of virtual tools in clinical trials.
In terms of the development stage, the global virtual clinical trials market is segmented into early and late phases. The early phase segment accounted for a market share of 41.55%, while the late phase segment accounted for 58.45% in 2021. Currently, a significant number of clinical trials are in phase III and phase IV, leading to an increased adoption of decentralized clinical trial (DCT) platforms for improved data accuracy and outcomes. Additionally, the early phase segment is experiencing growth in 2021 due to the rising adoption of DCT platforms and tools in phase I and phase II trial procedures, which enhance patient participation.
The therapy areas in the global virtual clinical trials market include cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), infectious diseases, gastroenterology disorders, musculoskeletal diseases, nervous system disorders, and other indications. The oncology segment holds the highest market share of 44.85% in the virtual clinical trials market and surpasses other segments. Decentralized clinical trials are predominantly conducted in oncology therapeutic areas, and home-based clinical trials have seen significant adoption in various disease segments. This patient-centric approach ensures better clinical outcomes for trial sponsors. Major market players also indicate a strong association between decentralized clinical trials and cancer indications, with over 22% adoption in the oncology therapeutic area in 2020.
The rare and genetic diseases segment ranks second in market share, accounting for 15.54%. The increasing prevalence of rare and newly identified genetic diseases fuels the demand for clinical research. Traditional clinical trials face challenges in addressing rare and genetic disorders, which can be effectively overcome through virtual clinical trials, especially in patient recruitment and retention. With over 6,000 rare diseases currently being addressed globally, the demand for clinical research activities is expected to rise further. The increasing prevalence of genetic and rare diseases drives the adoption of decentralized clinical trials.
North America holds the leading position in the global virtual clinical trials market, with a market share of 53.54%. The region’s growth is driven by increased clinical trial activities, well-established and advanced clinical trial infrastructure, and the adoption of decentralization in clinical trials over the past decades. Europe follows North America as a prominent region for virtual clinical trials. Factors contributing to its market growth include the acceptance of digital and connected technologies, a large patient population, and increasing awareness among clinical trial investigators, sponsors, and contract research organizations about virtual clinical trials. Additionally, Europe’s larger geographical landmass and limited healthcare settings make virtual clinical trials an ideal solution.
The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is still in the early stages of adopting virtual clinical trials but presents significant opportunities for market growth. In recent years, APAC countries have witnessed a substantial increase in clinical trial activities. APAC has become renowned as a hub for the clinical trial industry. The region’s large patient populations, diverse ethnicities and geographies, high demand for treatments, similar disease patterns, increasing technology adoption in clinical trials, and rapidly growing biopharmaceutical industries contribute to the growth of the virtual clinical trials market in APAC.
Medable, Science 37, THREAD, Dassault Systèmes (Medidata), IQVIA, Clinical ink, Castor, ObvioHealth, Labcorp Drug Development, ERT, Signant Health, Covance, Jeeva, Accenture, and Delve Health are notable participants in the global virtual clinical trials market. The increased focus on drug development by prominent pharmaceutical and biotech companies, coupled with their continuous investment in research and development activities and clinical trials, has intensified competition within the biopharmaceutical industry. This heightened competition directly impacts the competitive landscape of the virtual clinical trial market.
THREAD stands out in the virtual clinical trials market by offering a unique, innovative, and highly advanced decentralized clinical trial platform. Their platform is fully customizable and unified, providing global scalability and rapid adaptability for decentralized clinical trial study design. In 2022, THREAD further expanded its capabilities by acquiring inVibe, enabling the integration of participant feedback and enhancing trial design and research capabilities.
Key companies profiled in this report include Dassault Systèmes, Medable, Science 37, THREAD, Accenture, Castor, Clinical ink, Clario, Delve Health, eClinicalHealth, IQVIA, Labcorp Drug Development, ObvioHealth, Signant Health, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Advarra, Curavit Clinical Research, CMIC Holdings, Icon Plc, Jeeva Informatics Solutions, LEO Innovation Lab, Oracle, Paraxel International Corporation, ProPharma Group.
Key Questions Answered
What is the size of the global market for virtual clinical trials?
The global market size for virtual clinical trials was valued at USD 1.9 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 5.10 billion by 2027.
What is the growth rate of the global market for virtual clinical trials?
The global market share for virtual clinical trials is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.59% from 2022 to 2027.
What are the current trends in the global market for virtual clinical trials?
The adoption of the bring your own device strategy in virtual clinical trials, the emergence of new connected devices that enhance data collection in clinical trials, and the increasing use of synthetic clinical trials are significant trends in the global market for virtual clinical trials.
Who are the key players in the global market for virtual clinical trials?
Dassault Systèmes, Medable, Science 37, and THREAD are the key vendors in the global market for virtual clinical trials.
Which region is expected to dominate the market share of virtual clinical trials globally?
North America is the leading region in the global market for virtual clinical trials. It has a higher number of clinical trial activities and a greater adoption of advanced tools such as eClinical tools in these activities. North America is known for its advanced development in both clinical trials and technology adoption.