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Global drug discovery market worldwide by segment 2016 and 2025

The drug discovery market worldwide is on the rise. By 2025 the market is expected to be valued at 71 billion U.S. dollars. As of 2016, the market was valued at just 35.2 billion U.S. dollars. The largest segment of the drug discovery market has been small molecule drug discovery. By 2025 the small molecule drug discovery market will be valued at some 48 billion U.S. dollars.

Top R&D pharmaceutical companies

Pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) is an essential part of new drug discovery and manufacturing. The top pharmaceutical companies based on their research and development spending are Roche, Johnson & Johnson and Novartis. It is estimated that by 2024 the top worldwide pharmaceutical companies based on research and development spending will be Johnson & Johnson, Roche and Merck & Co.

Research and development trends

Research and development in the pharmaceutical industry is an expensive endeavor. Companies are responsible for new drug approvals, clinical trials and are subject to specific rules and regulations. In general, the average cost to develop new drugs has been increasing, despite new technologies. While costs to develop drugs are increasing, returns on investments in research and development are decreasing over time. That is one reason why pharmaceutical companies are increasingly outsourcing R&D to academic or private research contractors.

Drug discovery market worldwide by segment in 2016 and 2025

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In cooperation with
BIS Research
Release date




Survey time period

as of 2017

Supplementary notes

The 2025 figure is a projection.
* Largest product segment within biologics drug discovery.

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