CROs to Watch (Top CRO List)

To bring new therapies to market, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies engage contract research organizations (CROs) for their expertise in navigating the complex landscape of product development and regulatory pathway. The selection of a CRO depends on the experience, areas of expertise, geographical reach, and importantly, ability of the CRO to meet the sponsor’s clinical objectives. Finding the right match may also depend on intangibles like sharing a similar corporate culture. Top CROs have honed their capabilities in developing and delivering innovative solutions. Here’s a brief look into how they started and how they support clinical research worldwide.


ICON was founded in Dublin, Ireland in 1990 and is today a global provider of drug and device development and commercialization services with a presence in Europe, the US, South America, Middle East, and Africa. ICON CRO services span the lifecycle of product development and commercialization, serving small local trials as well as large global programs. In 2022, it received several industry awards, independently judged by peers worldwide. ICON’s solutions include:

  • market access
  • site and patient solutions
  • biotech
  • functional resourcing
  • increasing site and patient compliance.


Founded in 1982, IQVIA is a leading global provider of advanced analytics, technology solutions, and clinical research services to the combined industries of health information technologies and clinical research. It has been recognized as one of America’s Best Management Consulting Firms (2022) and on FORTUNE’s 2022 list of World’s Most Admired Companies (topped FORTUNE’s Healthcare: Pharmacy and Other Services list). IQVIA’s solutions include:

  • research & development
  • real world evidence
  • commercialization
  • integrated global compliance
  • technologies e.g. the IQVIA Orchestrated Clinical Trials digital solutions.


Medpace is a mid-size, full-service global CRO engaged in scientifically-driven outsourced clinical development services for the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries. ClinTrak is the clinical trial management system Medpace deploys to facilitate team coordination and provide decision support for sponsors and sites. In 2022, Medpace was listed in the Forbes Top 100 America’s Best Mid-Sized Companies. Medpace solutions include:

  • early phase clinical research
  • comprehensive services for Phase IIPhase III research
  • real world evidence and late phase research
  • medical device and diagnostics clinical trials.


Parexel is a global CRO providing clinical development capabilities and integrated consulting expertise, with global study locations in the US, UK, and Germany. To expand access to patient populations and increase diversity in clinical trials, Parexel launched its Community Alliance Network in 2022. In collaboration with CVS Health and Javara, the novel program integrates clinical research into the community healthcare setting. Parexel has received numerous industry awards and was recently ranked 19 in the list of Top 100 companies to Watch for Remote Jobs. Parexel solutions include

  • clinical research services
  • consulting
  • outsourcing services
  • medical communications
  • medical affairs
  • real-world data sciences.


Established as a one-person consulting firm in 1985, PPD has since conducted clinical trials in more than 100 countries. Today, PPD is a leading global CRO providing comprehensive, integrated drug development, laboratory, and lifecycle management services. PPD has been recognized as a top CRO, for its work in the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, and as one of the best places to work at. In 2021, PPD was named “Most Innovative CRO” by Triangle Business Journal for investing in and expanding its digital clinical trials capabilities to ensure continuity for ongoing trials during the COVID-19 pandemic. PPD solutions include:

  • end-to-end clinical testing solutions
  • therapeutic area expertise
  • global networks of investigators, clinicians, patients, and testing sites.

Syneos Health

Formed through a merger of INC Research and inVentiv Health, Syneos Health is a global biopharmaceutical solutions organization that includes a CRO and a Contract Commercial Organization (CCO). Its business model was designed to accelerate customer success by strategically blending clinical development, medical affairs, and commercial capabilities. In 2020, Syneos Health ranked highest among biopharmaceutical outsourcing organizations in the Forbes 2020 list of World’s Best Employers. Syneos Health solutions include:

  • decentralized solutions
  • bioanalytical solutions
  • early phase to real world and late phase
  • medical device and diagnostics clinical trials.


Vial is a technology-enabled CRO supported by a team of Scientific Advisors with a wealth of experience running clinical trials across therapeutic areas. The focus is on the delivery of innovative, differentiated, tech processes that allow therapies to reach patients with greater speed, safety, and success. Leveraging strategic partnerships with tech companies like ModMed, Vial can deploy its own unique tech solutions to simplify and boost trial recruitment. Another important success metric for CROs – Vial onboarded 90% of its sites in less than 30 days thanks to its technology platform and team of expert operators. Vial solutions include:

Worldwide Clinical Trials

Founded by physicians dedicated to advancing medical science, Worldwide Clinical Trials is a midsize, global CRO that strategically balances science, medicine, operations, and commercial intelligence in providing clinical research solutions. From discovery to post-marketing, Worldwide partners with your team to develop a custom method, transfer/optimize and validate an existing method, identify liabilities and de-risk a regulated assay, or adapt a method to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Recently, Worldwide was honored at the 2022 CRO Leadership Awards and recognized as a high-performing CRO based on feedback from pharmaceutical and biotech professionals. Their solutions include full-service CRO capabilities from discovery to post-marketing.

Contact Us

By submitting, you are agreeing to our terms and privacy policy
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.