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The pharmaceutical sector is one of the few industries that has been relatively less impacted amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As the disease spreads, the demand for accurate diagnostic measures, and effective preventive and treatment solutions for COVID-19, is growing at a rapid pace. At the time of writing this article, more than 70 vaccines and around 100 therapeutic interventions were under development for the prevention and treatment of the disease, respectively.

In order to expedite the development and manufacturing of viable preventives / therapeutics against diseases, innovators are known to often rely on contract service providers. However, the current pandemic has severely crippled established supply chains, as several factories have had to shut down owing to the shortage of manpower. Moreover, there are heavy restrictions on international boundaries, preventing sponsors from leveraging the assistance of contract service providers. In this section, we have attempted to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the businesses of peptide API contract service providers.

Based on our assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the peptide API CMO market across the world, is likely to witness / have witnessed the following developments:

  • Complete / partial disruption of normal operations and manufacturing taking place at sub-optimal capacity
  • Decline in short-term demand from existing pharmaceutical sponsors / innovator companies
  • Immediate decline in outsourcing, especially from offshore locations
  • Limitations on workforce available on premises, as a result of government-imposed social distancing regulations
  • Heavy restrictions on cross border movement of goods and other logistical challenges, leading to the disruption of established supply chains
  • Increased regulatory scrutiny


Based on the abovementioned insights, it is unlikely that contract manufacturers are currently operating at full capacity. As a result, the revenue generation potential of stakeholders in this industry is expected to have been adversely impacted, at least for the next few years. Once appropriate risk management strategies are defined and implemented and the world begins to gradually exit the precautionary lockdown (possibly after the approval and large-scale distribution of a vaccine), the CMO business will start recovering. However, it is prudent to presume that a new normal is going to be defined in the future. How it is going to impact the contract services industry? Whether factories will ever operate at full capacity? What fraction of the labor force is likely to be retained? – are all important questions, the answers to which are still a subject of speculation.


According to our forecast model, the market is expected to grow at a relatively slow pace between 2020 and 2022 (CAGR 9.3%). Further into the future, between 2022 and 2030, as manufacturing operations resume at higher capacities, and the stakeholders have adapted to the new normal, the market is likely to recover and continue to grow at a healthier pace, at an estimated CAGR of 11.8%.


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