JPMorgan Chase & Co is hosting its big annual healthcare conference from January 7 to January 10 in San Francisco.
"The hundreds of companies presenting run the gamut, from start-ups to those with more than $300 billion in market cap, and encompass the entire global healthcare landscape, including pharmaceutical firms, healthcare service providers, profit and not-for-profits, and medical device companies," said the official website.
Thousands of pharmaceutical industry executives, investors, bankers, and analysts are expected to attend the event, known for its earnings forecasts, new product updates and the occasional bit of dealmaking from the world’s most powerful drug and biotech companies.
Here are five things to watch out for:
More Suitors for Celgene?
Last week, it was announced that Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) is set to acquire Celgene Corp. (CELG) for about $74 billion. More details on the takeover are expected to surface at JPMorgan’s conference, including more detailed commentary on synergies and its earnings outlook.
Who knows, maybe another offer will also emerge. Cantor Fitzgerald reckons other firms could be poised to kick off a bidding war, adding that Amgen Inc. (AMGN) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) represent a better fit for Celgene.
How Is Moderna Therapeutics Spending Its Money?
In December, Moderna Therapeutics Inc. (MRNA) finally listed on the stock market, becoming the biggest ever biotech initial public offering after raking in $604.3 million. On Tuesday, the company’s CEO Stephane Bancel will step on the stage, presumably to discuss how he and his colleagues plan to splurge all the capital they raised.
Moderna currently has no products on the market and investors will want to see signs that that’s about to change. Progress reports on the company’s 21 programs in development will be closely watched, as well as any other new plans Moderna has. Needham analyst Alan Carr expects the firm to have an approved drug by 2024.
Marijuana-based Drugs in the Spotlight
GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH), best known for its marijuana-based drug Epidiolex, is on the list of attendees at this year’s event. The British company won regulatory approval last summer for Epidiolex, its drug that reduces seizures among children suffering from congenital epilepsies.
Investors will be keen to discuss the growing importance of CBD, the second main compound in cannabis after THC, for medicinal purposes and hear how GW is going about getting another of its marijuana -based drugs, Savitex, approved in the U.S. Savitex also includes THC, part of the cannabis plant that gets people high.
What’s Up With Amazon?
Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is rumoured to be on the guest list at JPMorgan’s healthcare conference. Last year, the online retailer made some noteworthy strides toward entering the sector, acquiring online pharmacy PillPack and partnering with Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A) and JPMorgan for an employer health initiative, among other things.
Every time Amazon updates the market on its healthcare ambitions it sends shudders throughout the rest of the industry, so any news over the next few days, however small, should be paid careful attention to.
On the third day of the conference last year, President Donald Trump claimed that the pharmaceutical industry is “getting away with murder”. Investors will be hoping the government stays quieter this time, although speculation that the White House is keen to better manage drug pricing will likely weigh on their minds anyway.
Besides Trump, the Democrats have also promised to fight the war on drug price increases. It will be interesting to gauge the reception, particularly from Allergen PLC (AGN), which was accused of being the biggest culprit of price rises at the beginning of the year.