Contract drug manufacturing is a large, growing, and attractive business. Smaller companies are making up an increasingly large percentage of new drug approvals, and many of those companies are choosing to outsource manufacturing rather than investing the capital in what could be regarded as a non-core function. Even larger companies find value in outsourcing, as providers like Patheon (NYSE:PTHN) and Catalent (NYSE:CTLT) can offer valuable, and difficult-to-replicate expertise, as well as efficient scale and "swing capacity."
However attractive a market may be, execution still matters and Patheon has had its challenges so far as a public company. Though the sources of the revenue shortfalls have been understandable and don't point to long-term strategic or competitive issues, you'd like to see a company make a better debut after its IPO. In any event, while Patheon is one of the largest players in the CDMO space and offers a rare breadth of services, the company also has a lot of debt, aggressive and well-run rivals, and a robust valuation.
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Patheon's Execution Needs To Match Its Potential