Thousands of investors, Wall Street analysts, execs, and of course, journalists, converged on San Francisco last week for the biggest healthcare investor event of the year – the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.
It can be overwhelming, not to mention overcrowded. This year, more than 9,000 people signed up, and 485-plus companies were on the schedule to present.
If you had a hard time keeping up, we’ve got you covered. Here’s all of the most important news you might have missed while you were conferencing last week.
The biggest news of the week was Eli Lilly’s$US8 billion bid for cancer-drug makerLoxo Oncology, announced on Monday morning.
That deal followed the massive $US74 billion Bristol-Myers Squibb bid for Celgene, announced the week before.
With drugmakers flush with cash, top executives at firms like Merck and Gilead signalled in presentations at the event that there may be more M&A to come.
Sometimes, it’s better to keep things casual. Lots of companies announced new partnerships last week. Here are some of the highlights:
- Civica Rx, the nonprofit that’s bringing hospitals together to make their own generic drugs, keeps adding more members.
- The health clinic startup One Medical is joining forces with a big Seattle health system to expand the kinds of care it can provide to patients.
- Sanofi and Regeneron announced that they restructured their cancer drug collaboration.
- Gilead struck a deal worth up to $US785 million with the Korean pharma company Yuhan to work on a drug for patients with the liver disease NASH.
Pfizer, meanwhile, has been using its Pfizer Ventures arm and a partnership with Bain Capital to pursue brain research, after the drugmaker itself pulled back from the field last year. We dug in to the strategy.
The conference can be a prime time for companies to announce clinical trial results for their drugs. And we’ll include some other medical-treatment developments here too:
- Sage Therapeutics had perhaps the best news of the conference. The company’s stock surged 43% after it published data showing a drug its developing can help relieve symptoms of postpartum depressions.
- Pear Therapeutics got FDA approval for a prescription app that helps treat opioid use disorder.
- Digital health is heating up. Omada Health, which long focused on diseases like diabetes and obesity, is expanding into treatments for psychological issues such as depression and anxiety.
- Invitae is going direct-to-consumer. The genetic testing company said it will let individuals buy its tests online, though a clinician will still be involved to help interpret the results.
It’s always good to get the latest news from old friends. My favourite update came from CVS Health, which laid out how (after its merger with health insurer Aetna), the company plans to reshape healthcare.
We also caught up with Jessica Mega at Verily, who filled us in on what the Alphabet-linked life sciences company is up to, after it just raised a fresh $US1 billion.
And Jordge Conde, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, explained why he’s now seeking to invest in therapeutics.
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