2022 Global CDMO Study of Pharmaceutical Operations

How to gain a competitive advantage in a fast-changing pharmaceutical supply ecosystem


The global Covid-19 pandemic has drawn attention to profound geographical, technical, and structural shifts in pharmaceutical supply chains. Treatments are increasingly produced by highly capable contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs). As new, extraordinarily sophisticated, advanced therapies emerge to complement traditional large and small molecule treatments, this trend looks set to deepen and accelerate. Today, CDMOs are targeting an increasingly attractive business segment, in which pure play CDMOs and other market participants are taking on a growing role.

For the 2022 Global CDMO Study, we put together data from 150 of the world’s major players, classified according to the nature of their core business: pure play CDMO, PharmaCo CDMO, generics manufacturing CDMO, and pharma affiliate CDMO. This has given us vital insights into the routes to competitive advantages, especially for marketing authorization holders (MAHs) that are set up to collaborate with CDMOs, for CDMOs positioned to serve marketing authorization holders, and for others that aspire to closer commercial relationships.

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Our six key findings

1. MAHs have expanded strategic collaboration with CDMOs

2. Professionalized CDMO management is needed to ensure collaborative success

3. MAHs increasingly also act as CDMOs, offering spare capacity to the market to absorb costs

4. CDMOs are becoming end-to-end service providers

5. CDMOs are expanding beyond traditional technology portfolios

6. CDMOs are producing advanced therapies, turning visionary hype into operational reality

What should your organization do?

Our survey findings show that to confront the technology and cost challenges of advanced therapies, pharma manufacturing technology leaders – both MAHs and CDMOs – are forming long-term, strategic partnerships as they race for a slice of the future market. To thrive in today’s – and tomorrow’s – fast-changing pharmaceutical supply market, players need to act now.

Based on our experience, our recommendations are:


To enhance their competitive advantage, CDMOs need to expand their key capabilities and portfolios across treatment types and along the value chain to deliver high-quality solutions at attractive costs to customers. The starting point is to evaluate the company’s key capabilities and differentiators, and then develop an overarching strategy.


Becoming a trusted partner for MAHs and CDMOs provides a competitive advantage. Growing MAHs and CDMOs prefer a strategic partnership model, enabling them to expand together with successful products. Internal preparation is the key to forming strategic partnerships.


MAHs need to develop a strategic view on which services and treatment types to outsource, identify the right partners, and build lasting relationships to generate a competitive advantage.

Act now to stay or grow more successful in the fast-changing CDMO market

The race for advanced therapies has already begun, but the ecosystem of the future is yet to be defined. CDMOs are achieving their competitive advantage by expanding their key capabilities and their portfolios across treatment types and value-chain steps, to deliver optimized solutions to their MAH customers.

Already, 37% of CDMOs provide end-to-end services across the value chain, while 28% offer a portfolio across all three modalities: small molecules, large molecules and advanced therapies.

For MAHs and CDMOs, becoming a trusted partner provides a competitive advantage, enabling both sides to introduce new products and grow. To pave the way toward value generation through strategic partnerships, MAHs and CDMOs should follow the blueprint that we developed.

After enhancing their capabilities, both MAHs and CDMOs must learn to take full advantage of their new and ideally unique value proposition, and strengthen and build strategic partnerships. As the pharma manufacturing ecosystem evolves, companies should reinvest in continued growth across and beyond their portfolio, to gain further market share.

Sebastian Hölzl and Friederike Laprell also contributed to this study.

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Dr. Jens Neumann

Dr. Jens Neumann

Partner, Strategy& Germany