Now That's A Healthy Baby

Among this year's crop of initial public offerings, PharmaChem has already proven itself. Two weeks after the company went public on Aug. 12, bad news hit. The U. S. Postal Service, one of PharmaChem's biggest customers, announced that PharmaChem had lost in the bidding that might have renewed the company's contract to provide drug testing. But the stock refused to wilt.

PharmaChem, which went public at 8 1/2, had risen to 10 1/2 by Aug. 28. On Aug. 29, when the Post Office decision hit the newswires, the stock eased just to 10--and it's already back up to 10 1/2. Several big investors think it will continue to climb, possibly doubling in a year based on rosy earnings targets.

Even without the Post Office's business, says Andy Lanyi, who heads Ladenburg Thalmann's Lanyi Div., earnings will pop to 27~ this year and to 50~ in 1992, vs. last year's 13~.

PharmaChem's corporate customers include American Telephone & Telegraph, Pfizer, and Pennzoil. Among its government clients, the Army and the Probation Div. of the U. S. Courts are mainstays. Several large drug-treatment programs are also regulars.

PharmaChem is certified by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the College of American Pathologists, and the Defense Dept. So it should hold its own against similarly certified giants such as SmithKline Beecham, notes Lanyi. And, he adds, the "feedback from customers is very positive."