Another year, another J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. This premier event, which brings together more than 40,000 stakeholders from every area of the healthcare landscape, is considered by most as the jumping-off point for the year’s biggest news and deals.
PAN client Alison Wistner, CEO of Upwell Health, was one of the many executives who descended on San Francisco to experience JPM Week. When asked about the difference in attending as a CEO vs. former investor, Wistner explained, “As an operator, I attended the conference looking for relationships that will positively affect our business, but as an investor I went to gain awareness of as many companies as possible and educate myself on industry trends as much as – if not more so – than the companies driving those trends.”
At PAN, we help many clients prepare for meetings and activities around the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. Keeping pace on the top conversations in the life sciences sector, we assembled a few areas to track as you continue to invest in your PR and content marketing programs.
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J.P. Morgan is, of course, all about the deals. It wouldn’t be J.P. Morgan if there wasn’t a major acquisition announced during or immediately leading up to the conference.
This year, there was Bristol-Myers Squibb’s purchase of Celgene, with multiple myeloma blockbuster Revlimid undoubtedly a major selling point. Eli Lilly also acquired Loxo Oncology for $8B. Loxo’s drug, larotrectinib, for patients with solid tumors with NTRK gene fusions, was recently approved by the FDA. This was the second tissue-agnostic granted FDA approval for treating cancer.
Drug pricing was a hot topic throughout the conference, appearing in multiple presentations and panels. The challenge of managing rising prices remains pervasive. While debates continue as to who is accountable for high costs, the fact of the matter is many expensive biologic drugs will lose patent protection soon. Accordingly, biosimilars will be an important area to watch in 2019. They have faced challenges in the U.S., however. While 16 biosimilar products have been approved by the FDA, only seven have launched. Despite these challenges, we anticipate additional biosimilar launches this year.
China Biotech Development
There were at least 10 different China-focused events during J.P. Morgan Week, and much of the conversation during the conference centered around China’s rapidly growing biotech industry. With changes to the China Food and Drug Administration’s (CFDA) regulations, and increasingly high valuations for Chinese biotech companies, we can expect to see more approvals in China and increased investment in Chinese biotech companies, including licenses and partnerships. The country’s role in globalization of drug development will only become more important this year.
Wistner continued, “J.P. Morgan has true convening power and attracts major influencers. Unlike a lot of conferences, attendees want to create meaningful business opportunities rather than simply network. The other executives I spoke with were all in discovery mode, looking for strategic deals that make sense for their business.”
PAN can help your healthcare company make its mark in the biotech landscape – from maximizing your presence at top industry conferences to designing and implementing an integrated marketing and PR strategy that is right-sized for your needs.