Following JP Morgan week, we caught up with friends and members of the BIA who travelled out to San Francisco, asking for some of their key takeaways from the conference. Read them below…

Steve Bates, BIA CEOSteve Bates, CEO, BIA

“As always, San Francisco provided a great backdrop for the hectic week of meetings, presentations and receptions, that was JP Morgan week. The conference jolted into action on Monday with BIA member Shire’s long-awaited announcement that it will combine with Baxalta in a $32 million takeover. As Flemming Ørnskov, CEO of Shire put it “If I were British, I’d be pretty proud of the fact that someone can start a small company 30 years ago and, through the same strategy, basically get to be close to a top 10 company in the FTSE…It shows that growth and innovation does not just happen in the US.”

From our community there were plenty of positive discussions to be had around the UK sector and whispers of upcoming announcements – watch this space.”

MaryClarkMary Clark, Managing Director, International Healthcare, Hume Brophy

“It was a game of two halves at this year’s Annual JP Morgan meeting:  in the first half the corridors were as busy as ever and there wasn’t even standing room in the presentations.  In the second half, many investors had left to go back to their desks and stare at the red screens…”

KevinCoxKevin Cox, CEO, Imanova and BIA Board member

“A key observation for me at the Biotech Showcase was the increased interest in CNS diseases, particularly dementia. For the first time it seemed that people actually entered a room for CNS company presentations, rather than the exodus experienced in prior years!

Indeed, the whole event kicked off at an ungodly hour with a discussion on Alzheimer’s disease: Has the tide turned? King Kanute notwithstanding, the general consensus of the panel, with representatives from all industry stakeholders, was positive – albeit a little fragile. However, significant set-backs with some of the current amlyoid buster trials may turn the tide back in the wrong direction! Pleasingly, all the panelists were emphatic about the need for suitable biomarkers to demonstrate tissue delivery, target engagement and pharmacological response – the so called 3 pillars of drug survival. A heartening message for a biomarker development company.”

HHarrietFeararriet Fear, CEO, One Nucleus

“It was great to see members of One Nucleus, BIA, BioPartner, Bionow and MediWales at the drinks hosted by myself and Steve at the Clift on the Sunday evening before the week formally began. Record numbers and a good way for us to get over jet lag together and chat about the opportunities around the corner.”

Supriya BW jpgSupriya Mathur, Director International Healthcare, Hume Brophy

“The Biotech Showcase was the real star of the show at JP Morgan this year, especially with the excitement surrounding European companies announcing key deals last week. Interest in UK and European companies remained high, with many investors, brokers and big pharma turning their sights to the great science and potential in European biotech. Now to see whether the excitement will be sustained!”

Melanie Toyne-Sewell, Partner, Life Sciences, Instinctif PartnersMelTS

“The conference was as busy as ever, with the usual running between hotels and up hills to meetings. In particular, it was great to see so many European companies there with full schedules of investor and BD meetings, despite the volatility of the markets.”