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News and Press: MichBio News

Recap of JPMorgan Healthcare Week 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015   (0 Comments)
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Tim Mayleben, President and CEO
Esperion Therapeutics
The 33rd JPMorgan Healthcare Conference didn’t disappoint this year. The event is widely touted as the go-to life sciences event of the year and occurs during the same time in the same venerable Westin St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco. This year JPMorgan brought together about ten thousand investors, company executives, analysts, shareholders, and others to hear over 300 public and select private company, as well as health system presentations. The buzz level was noticeably up… with an unmistakable attitude of “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.” A series of acquisitions were announced days before the start of the conference that fueled much of the spirit at the event.

The JPMorgan Conference draws people globally to San Francisco each year. They fill every hotel lobby, taxi and town car, bathroom, art gallery, coffee shop, restaurant, and barstool in the greater Union Square area and beyond. Every hotel in the city is booked months in advance and charge five times rack rate for the privilege. Many people don’t/can’t even go into the JPMorgan Conference (it’s invitation only) venue itself, using the occasion to set up one-on-one meetings with everyone they can think of and hope for in the healthcare industry elsewhere in the vicinity and/or attend several concomitant partnering conferences. Security at the JPMorgan Conference is tighter than what the Secret Service can provide and industry leaders have been stopped at the entrance because they didn’t have the right credentials. However, if you’re on the inside, then it is one-stop shopping in terms of the company CEOs and executives you can approach.

The 2015 JPMorgan Conference got underway with a phenomenally well-attended reception co-hosted by MichBio, New York Bio, BioNJ, VABio, and the Washington Biomedical & Biotechnology Association (WBBA). Hundreds crowded in the ENO Winebar adjacent to the conference venue on Sunday January 11th and even spilled out onto the sidewalk. It was great visibility for the associations and our respective bio-industry clusters and set the tone for the rest of the week’s networking receptions.

JPMorgan featured company presentations and breakout Q&A sessions from biotech, pharmaceutical and medical technology companies, emerging growth companies, and non-profits like healthcare systems, as well as keynote presentations and industry panels.  Keynote presentations included Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase; Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair, The Wharton School and Perelman School of Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania and former White House Special Advisor on Health Policy; and Dr. Condolezza Rice, 66th Secretary of State of the United States. Several panel sessions discussed digital health, next generation sequencing, and diagnostic and laboratory testing. The Conference proceedings went from 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and 7:30 a.m. – noon on Thursday.

Three other conference have sprung up around the JPMorgan Conference, mostly for those private, entrepreneurial startups who can’t/don’t attend the main event. The oldest of them is the Biotech Showcase, an investor and partnering conference devoted to providing private and public life sciences companies with an opportunity to present to, and meet with, investors and pharmaceutical executives. Biotech Showcase is a lively event with plenty of networking and topped 2,000 attendees this year. MichBio helped promote the Biotech Showcase and member companies receive a discount on registration. This year CEO Stephen Rapundalo attended and moderated a session of company presentations on the last day of the conference. 

A second event, the 8th Annual OneMedForum, took place at the Marriott Marquis San Francisco. Company presentations along with respective poster displays were featured. Partnering with investors and exhibits of the latest tools and technologies for emerging healthcare, life sciences, and medical technology companies were available to attendees. MichBio co-promoted OneMedForum and member companies received a discount on registration.

A new event this year was the Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) Conference hosted by Life Science Nation – formerly a Boston-centric event. RESI was a high-quality, single-day event and packed with panel sessions comprised of tier 1 investors, corporate executives, and other industry leaders. These were coupled with a presenting company poster session, vendor exhibit displays, and a reception. Hopefully, this well-run event will become a permanent fixture to the annual JPMorgan week of activities.

 Phil Hagerman, CEO
Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy
Michigan companies were well represented formally at all the conferences. Perrigo, Stryker, Diplomat, Emergent Biosolutions, Zoetis, Pfizer, Trinity Health, Esperion Therapeutics, and ProNAi Therapeutics presented at the JPMorgan Conference. Delphinus Medical Technologies presented at the OneMed Forum, RetroSense Therapeutics spoke at the Biotech Showcase, and Armune Biosciences appeared at RESI. Many others were in town to take advantage of the access to dealmakers and investors. Seen in the crowd were BioSavita, U-M Technology Transfer Office and Coulter Foundation, Atterocor, IRISense, and Gemphire Therapeutics. Also, representatives from several of the state’s venture capital firms were in San Francisco too – Arboretum, Fletcher Spaght, Baird, Apjohn Venture, and Cavendish Global Partners.

MichBio’s JPM by the numbers: 9 meetings, 15 casual CEO encounters, 14 receptions, 2 dinners over 4 days. The meetings were with senior biopharma business development/corporate venture execs and venture firms. Conversations were held with CEOs form Lilly, Zimmer, Stryker, Zoetis, 23andme, Vertex, BD, Boston Scientific, Quintiles, ThermoFisher, and others. How to survive? Pace yourself… organize the calendar, plan timing to/from the sessions, and especially measure the consumption of food and drink at receptions.

In the end, pretty much all of the JPMorgan Conference week was about networking, including the dozens of receptions every evening (some exclusive) that followed each day’s calendar of events and sessions. By the end of it all, one’s feet were sore beyond belief with blisters to prove it (and Lord knows how the women get around in their high heels), and the Fitbit went into in overdrive with the number of steps taken and calories burned. However, it was all worth it as the partnering was unparalleled… and besides, there’s a year to recuperate.

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