The Digital Decentralized Clinical Trial solution (DDCT) market is one of the biggest digital health market segments in NA and Europe, with significant growth and business opportunities in the next years. Solution providers should wisely choose out of six market segments within this market to benefit the most from the market growth.
The Covid pandemic has affected the dynamics in the clinical trials market globally. Trial sponsors are searching for digital solution partners and contract research organizations (CROs) that can connect the patients remotely to the trial sites and virtualize as many clinical trial tasks as possible, i.e., decentralizing the clinical trials. However, it is known that there is still a range of clinical trial workloads that cannot be fully virtualized, and therefore paves the way for the hybrid trials.
The market is big. The DDCT market size in North America (NA) and Europe will grow by 38% (CAGR) to reach over $ 9 bn in 2026 (The Digital Decentralized Clinical Trials Solutions Market, 2018-2026, from Research2Guidance). One third of clinical trials will make use of the digital solutions and become hybrid or even completely virtual.
There are more than 500 DDCT providers in the NA and Europe, trying to capture some of this market value. They vary by service offerings, business models, value propositions, etc. DDCT solution and service providers can be segmented into six groups. Most importantly they target different value pockets of the market, which has a significant impact on their future growth.
The value pockets are the value propositions that are mostly requested and paid for today and in the future by trial sponsors.
6 Segments of the Digital Decentralized Clinical Trial Solution Market
Real-World Data (RWD) Segment: RWD providers enable the trial sponsors to tap into the EMR, medical claims, and other patient generated data, usually via licensing for their data platforms. Their services are especially important when trial recruitment is very challenging in the rare disease research. However, the market entry barriers for this segment are high because of the data regulations and the need for data partnerships with organizations. These vendors capture only parts of the value pockets in the market, leading to a moderate growth potential in future.
Patient Engagement Segment: Online patient recruitment (on-boarding, pre-screening, recruiting) and long-term patient engagement are the core businesses in the patient engagement segment. The vendors aim to prevent dropouts and delays in the trials via patient engagement management. The patient engagement specialists are mostly open to high competition from other market players with in-house patient engagement tools. Since they are targeting a niche part in the clinical trial process, this segment offers a lower growth potential in future.
Electronic Data Capture Segment: Data capture companies in DDCT market focus on collecting real-time data from patients, storing the big data, and assuring data quality. The main product of these companies is usually a software- or platform-as-a-service. With strategic partnerships, the vendors become a vital competitor in the digital decentralized clinical trial solutions market. Nevertheless, the addressable value pockets that are covered by the current products from these vendors are limited, and therefore offering a moderate growth in future.
Supply Chain Management Segment: The mostly known supply chain managers in the DDCT market are the well-known delivery companies who expanded the logistics and supply chain management services for the hybrid clinical trials. The main competitors of the companies in this segment are the large CROs offering in-house services in logistics and supply chain management for trial sponsors. The supply chain players cover a very limited value demanded by the sponsors, which in turn leads to a lower growth potential for the segment.
End-to-End DDCT Service Segment: The players in this segment involve in almost every step of the clinical trials from the study design to the marketing of the new therapies. They also incorporate in-house digital tools for hybrid trials and sell their services on study-by-study or enterprise basis. The co-opetition between large CROs and end-to-end service providers with technological expertise is also supporting the potential growth of this segment as well. Eventually, the vendors cover all the value pockets in the DDCT market, and therefore offering a high growth for the DDCT players.
Digitizing CRO Segment: CROs have been the long-lasting partners of the pharmaceutical companies for clinical trials, offering them a one-stop-shop along the drug development process. However, the hybrid clinical trials with digital tools and technologies are new to them. Some of the CROs are relying on the end-to-end DDCT technology providers, such as LabCorp partnering with Medable, while some try to develop in-house capabilities. Nevertheless, with extensive services and outsource partner network, CROs cover all the value pockets in the DDCT market and offer high growth for the segment players.
DDCT solution providers must well define their segment they want to play in in order to capture as much as possible of this fast-growing market potential. Adding new services in high value areas without over stretching their own capabilities and resources will be key for any solution provider in this fast growing digital health market segment over the next years.
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