The JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, which showcases innovations in the industry and provides a platform to exchange ideas and insights as well as to make breaking announcements, went by without much fanfare this year.
In 2019, the conference made a splash, with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE: BMY) announcing its multibillion-dollar purchase of Celgene just ahead of the conference and Eli Lilly And Co (NYSE: LLY) revealing its intention to buy Loxo Oncology.
Deals Conspicuous By Their Absence
The 2020 conference did not see any M&A announcements outside of Teladoc Health Inc's (NYSE: TDOC) agreement to buy enterprise telehealth solutions provider InTouch Health for $600 million. Even this deal was announced a day before the conference began.
After a record year for M&A in 2019, biopharma acquisitions are expected to slow down a bit in the new year.
Accent On Digital Health
The conference saw discussions on digital health and wellness apps that operate on the fringes of the medical sector.
These should be curated so that doctors can decide whether they can recommend them to their patients, American Medical Association CEO James Madara was quoted as saying.
Tech Stalwarts Join In
Tech titans such as Google parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG), NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) and salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE: CRM) participated in the conference to discuss how new technologies such as artificial intelligence and cloud computing can be used to improve health care.
Oncology, Rare Diseases Offer Lucrative Opportunity
Biopharma companies both big and small said oncology and rare diseases are areas presenting promising opportunities.
Neuroscience A Sector to Watch In 2020
Neuroscience is being touted as a focus area.
Drug Pricing Defended
With 2020 being a U.S. presidential election year, it is a no surprise that drug companies are worried that the high cost of prescription drugs is a campaign issue. Pharma companies defended their stance by detailing the high R&D costs involved in moving a drug from the lab to the shelves.
Biogen Tightlipped On Aducanumab Filing
Despite expectations that Biogen Inc (NASDAQ: BIIB) would give a timeline for its regulatory filing for aducanumab to treat Alzheimer's, it merely suggested it is preparing modules of the common technical document for submission to the FDA.
Amgen, Bristol-Myers Exude Confidence
Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) sounded very bullish, relaying a clear shift in narrative, with Otezla and overseas expansion expected from its investment in Beigene Ltd (NASDAQ: BGNE), BofA Securities analyst Geoff Meacham said in a note.
The analyst also noted that Bristol-Myers Squibb instilled confidence with its presentations given six near-term product launches and a good cadence of new data disclosures at medical meetings in the first half of 2020.
Lack of Diversity Underlined
Some attendees at the conference pointed out the lack of diversity among biopharma executives, with most being white males.