The terms CRO and CMO are abbreviations for Contract Research Organisations and Contract Manufacturing Organisations. These two company types support the Pharmaceutical and/or Biotechnology sectors in the form of outsourced services.

You may also come across a third abbreviation: CDMO. This stands for Contract Development & Manufacturing Organisation, meaning a company that provides a complete comprehensive service from research to commercial manufacture.

Would you like to work with a contract research organisation (CRO) or contract manufacturing organisation (CMO)? As one of the UK’s top CRO / CMO recruiters, Hyper Recruitment Solutions can help.

CRO / CMO Jobs

Contract Research Organisation (CRO) companies offer a broad range of services, including:

  • Drug Discovery and Development
  • Biopharmaceutical Development
  • Assay Development
  • Clinical Research
  • Preclinical Research
  • Pharmacovigiliance

Contract Manufacturing Organisations split their services into two main activities:

  • Primary manufacturing and / or
  • Secondary manufacturing
Regulatory Affairs
Quality Assurance
Regulatory Affairs
Cell & Gene Therapy / ATMP
Primary manufacturing involves the synthesis of a drug substance (active ingredients) and secondary manufacturing is the formulation of the drug substance into the final drug product. CMO companies can specialise in a range of dosage forms including solid dose (tablets & capsules), injectables, topical formulations, steriles, etc.

In recent times the demand for outsourced services has steadily increased year on year. This has resulted in a key focus on talent across CROs and CMOs. By outsourcing certain functions to a service provider, clients have been able to manage their internal resources and costs more efficiently, making the CRO / CMO relationship more of a strategic partnership.

CRO & CMO Industry FAQs

What is a contract research organisation?

A contract research organisation (CRO) provides research services – such as assay development or drug discovery – on a contractual basis. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies may outsource work to a CRO in order to reduce costs and complete tasks that they wouldn’t be able to do ‘in house’.

What is the difference between a CRO and a pharmaceutical company?

Whereas a pharmaceutical company is usually focused on innovation, working for a CRO means doing the work that your clients ask of you. A contract research organisation tends to make for a faster-paced and potentially more stressful working environment, but this is usually reflected in the salaries – you may be able to earn more working for a CRO than at a similar level in a pharma company.

Working for a CRO is great if you want to take on a wide variety of different projects, whereas a pharmaceutical company job will generally give you more opportunities to specialise in a particular area of interest.

How does contract manufacturing work?

A pharmaceutical company will often outsource the work of manufacturing drugs to a contract manufacturing organisation (CMO). This may involve synthesising the drug’s active ingredients (primary manufacturing) or producing the final product (secondary manufacturing), which may take the form of a tablet, capsule, ointment, injectable, etc.

CRO vs CMO – what’s the difference?

The difference between CRO and CMO is that, whereas Contract Research Organisations provide research and development services throughout a clinical trial, Contract Manufacturing Organisations take the pre-formulated drug (which may have been developed by a CRO) and manufacture it on a larger scale. you can read about the differences in more detail in our blog titled CRO vs. CMO: What's the Difference and Why Does it Matter?

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