The Research

The vetting process for selecting outsourcing partners is time consuming and complex. To support the process, Life Science Leader developed the CMO Leadership Awards in 2011. We think sponsor company opinions are important and credible — that’s why the awards are based on customer feedback. Winning CMOs are chosen through third-party, impartial market research based on feedback from sponsor companies that utilize outsourcing services.

Primary market research by Industry Standard Research (ISR) is the basis of the awards. Sponsors provide ratings of CMOs based on recent outsourced projects. This experiential feedback is analyzed by sponsor company size to reveal leading CMOs in different performance categories. For details on the research methodology, visit

Would you like to participate in the research? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request a link to the survey.

More about ISR

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The Publication

Based on the research, award recipients are announced in Life Science Leader’s awards supplement – a resource for sponsors and CMOs alike. The annual issue includes original editorial, outsourcing industry trends, and award-winning CMO profiles. Life Science Leader is a monthly publication available in digital and print through subscription.


"The CMO Leadership Awards issue and all of its features came to us at the right time. We used the award issue to help us understand the landscape and the type of services that all the different companies are providing, which helped us with the initial identification of companies that we then researched more extensively to learn of their capabilities and match them to our needs." - Oren Gilad, Co-Founder, President, and CEO | Atrin Pharmaceuticals


The most recent awards supplement was published in March 2018. The next issue will be released in March 2019.

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Core Award Categories

  • 1. Capabilities

    2. Compatibility

    3. Expertise

    4. Quality

    5. Reliability

    6. Service

Specialty Award Categories

  • 1. Accessible Senior Management

    2. Innovation

    3. On Time Delivery

    4. Reputation

    5. Right the First Time

    6. State-of-the Art

    7. Strength of Science

Cover of 2018 CMO Leadership Awards supplement

2018 CMO Leadership Awards supplement
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2018 Winners


Survey Methodology: ISR's Contract Manufacturing Quality Benchmarking research is conducted annually via an online survey. For the 2018 CMO Leadership Awards, more than 110 CMOs were evaluated on 23 performance metrics. Research participants were recruited from biopharmaceutical companies of all sizes and were screened for decision-making influence and authority when it comes to working with CMOs. Respondents only evaluated companies with which they had worked on an outsourced project within the past 18 months. This level of qualification ensures that ratings come from actual involvement with a business and that companies identified as leaders are backed by experiential data. CMOs must meet the minimum threshold of customer survey responses to be eligible for an award.

Each year, we gather in celebration of drug development and manufacturing. Award recipients are recognized during a ceremony, after which we enjoy great food, drink, and company.  Research participants, winning CMOs, and other industry stakeholders are invited to attend. 

2018 CMO Leadership Awards Ceremony & Reception
New York, NY

2018 Photos


2018 Ceremony Sponsors


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The CMO Leadership Awards Ceremony & Reception is not associated with DCAT or DCAT Week.