LaVoieHealthScience (LHS), a leading strategic communications firm dedicated to advancing health and science innovation, reported on the agency’s first annual panel held on December 19 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, entitled, An Unvarnished Look at JPM Week 2020.JPM Week brings together the largest group of industry, private and public company investors as well as business partners in one place to discuss the business of science and innovation, with a keen eye toward improving lives of patients and caregivers. The focus of the panel was to discuss the unpublished truths of attending and making the most of the yearly conference, increasing return on investment.
Moderated by LHS CEO, Donna L. LaVoie, panelists included Chris Garabedian, CEO of Xontogeny LLC and Portfolio Manager, Venture for Perceptive Advisors; Daphne Zohar, CEO and founder, PureTech Health; Milenko Cicmil, Vice President of Global Innovation & Partnering at Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals; and Jon Civitarese, Managing Director, Investment Banking, SVB Leerink LLC. The panel discussion covered JPMorgan history, decision tree for attending JPM Week by type of company, various venues—events, luncheons, cocktail parties, one-on-one meetings, meeting-making tools, how to best prepare, highlights and low lights of 2019, as well as 2020 predictions.
“Despite the investor, business development and licensing focus of JPM Week (also known as Biotech Week), the true winners should be patients, and JPM Week is often the first stop for healthcare pioneers who are striving to bring lifesaving medical innovation to the marketplace,” said Donna L. LaVoie. “Our panelists brought tremendous insight into this process, based on years of experience in attending JPM Week with a focus on critical fundraising, licensing, news flow and meeting colleagues.”
Panelists anticipated a robust 2020 financing market for healthcare and biotech companies. This is evidenced by the record increases of the 38 VC-backed “unicorns,” currently valued at more than $70 Billion, as well as a number of mega-round private financings.
LaVoie commented, “Our panelists were bullish on 2020. As reported recently in BioWorld, the biopharma sector scored approval of 48 new medicines in 2019, an above average number. Our panelists indicated that this bodes for a strong follow-on offering and IPO market in first half of 2020.”
Panelists brought top tips and advice to company executives as they plan for JPM Week in 2020 and beyond:
- If you have important clinical or technical updates, JPM Week is the marquee venue at the start of the year to update potential partners and investors. Your news flow here sets the stage for the rest of the year.
- Determine in advance who you want to meet with and why during JPM Week. Do it methodically – and be sure to follow up, post conference.
- Avoid superficial meetings with targets that are not aligned with your company’s goals that won’t go anywhere post JPM.
- Target investors, partners and media that you don’t normally get to meet with. Avoid the temptation of meeting with local colleagues, as this can be done anytime during the year.
- Get invited to the pharmaceutical partner events, which have numerous investors and key executives in attendance. And determine in advance who you’d like to meet. For a full list of events, visit BIO Compass.
- When meeting with pharmaceutical partners, limit your entourage. Focus on bringing key content contributors such as chief medical or science officer, other relevant scientific personnel.
- Bring some humanity to San Francisco. There are many organizations within the biotech/life science ecosystem such as Life Science Cares and others who are working to address issues of poverty and homelessness in their communities. Give them your support.
- Focus on quality versus quality. Fill two days instead of four.
- Tell your story simply—utilize a company fact sheet, The LHS Fifteen Slide Presentation®; avoid the long corporate deck.
- Have a backup—bring electronic and paper copy of your fact sheet or presentation. And use whatever is most appropriate for the venue.
- Maintain confidentiality on airplanes and in taxis and ride shares—you are not alone.
Panelists encouraged new thinking around this yearly industry event, given the high cost of hotels, travel, meeting rooms, etc., and suggested Massachusetts as a natural future venue for meetings, given the proximity to investors, academic centers, pharma and biotech companies, and the media.
“Our panelists are calling for more careful use of time and better efficiency, no matter the size of company attending JPM Week,” said LaVoie. “The value of this meeting will more than likely shift as new thinking evolves around how best to kick off the new year, meet investors, media and partners and achieve business goals.”