You’ve spent months getting your Biotech Showcase game plan and J.P. Morgan conference strategy ready for biotech’s “big show” – that magical week, each January, when the world’s life science investors, would-be partners, entrepreneurs, CEOs and media descend on San Francisco to chart the industry’s course and mood for the year ahead.
After successfully squaring away your travel plans, including the blatant price gouging from Union Square hotels, you booked meetings with scores of potential business partners that you hope will help drive your business for years to come. Finally, the optimist in you registered to attend more receptions than you could possibly attend in a single week (remember to hydrate!).
Congratulations. You are now ready to attend Biotech Showcase and J.P. Morgan 2019. With the planning and logistics done, you’re now free to take a long winter’s nap and dream of all the biotech events to come. Perhaps these five happy thoughts for the big week will find their way into your dreams tonight.
A Peek into Biotech Showcase & J.P. Morgan 2019 M&A
M&A deals were light in 2017 but the 2018 conference was marked by renewed deal activity that continued as the year progressed. This trend is sure to continue at the 2019 conferences as the 2018 U.S. tax cuts continue to spur further M&A funding, especially in pharma and biotech.
The Economy, Stupid?
I’ve always marveled at how the week of J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference and the Biotech Showcase is a great indicator for the direction of the overall economy. I’ve seen years when the only people there were those with non-refundable airline tickets, and no deals were done. Fortunately, I’ve also witnessed years in which everyone is doing deals (whether it made sense to do so or not). These circumstances set the mood for what the year will bring.
Follow the Money
In 2018, many investors were interested in companies focused in oncology with immunotherapy or gene therapy pipelines. In fact, in 2017, early stage companies in this space benefitted from the largest share of early-stage venture money invested that year. Given the amount of progress in this space in a relatively short period of time, this trend will likely continue at J.P. Morgan 2019 and companies in this therapeutic area will get solid attention from the VCs again in January.
Believing the Hype
The hype cycle is alive and well in biotech and one need look no further than artificial intelligence (AI) and gene-editing to see it. With scores of AI platform companies and CRISPR-based start-ups raising funding in 2018 and beginning to show the utility of the technology in clinical and research applications, it’s hard to imagine more of the companies in this sub-category of biotech not announcing or closing more investment in January. Some of these companies may even have plans to go public in the coming year.
Take the Meeting
While you might be solely focused on those meetings with analysts and investors, remember that it’s just as important to meet and network with interesting people across the industry. That person in the “courtesy meeting” might just be your next hire, boss, partner, ally or friend – or someone who will inspire you in some way. Here’s a critical lesson for your JPM strategy: take the meeting. You might be pleasantly surprised.
As you lay your head down for that winter’s nap, remember that there are no real winners and losers during the big show. Well, except for the bartenders and Uber drivers. They always win.
Are you going to biotech’s big show, too? If so, let’s hang out together. Contact us.