Saturday, January 07, 2017

#JPM17 Genomics and Synthetic Biology Companies

With the 2017 J.P. Morgan Conference in Healthcare (#JPM17) starting Monday, I and others have engaged in early reporting or speculation.  I've tried to compile a list of presenting companies in the genomics, informatics and synthetic biology tool spaces, but these were filtered quickly from a long list of presenting companies so I may have missed some -- please leave comments and I can add.  Also, some of the big conglomerates could speak on these topics but might ignore them, so no promises.  For example, Roche has their pharmaceutical CEO speaking, so we may not hear anything about the PacBio breakup or Genia lawsuit.  All times are Pacific Standard Time and are from the J.P. Morgan, though I've converted to 24-hour time (hopefully successfully!).  You may need to register with J.P. Morgan to follow the links I've provided and access the webcasts when they are  available.

My standard disclaimer on conflicts-of-interest applies: I do not hold stock directly in any of these companies (I'm an index fund investor).  I may be subject to non-disclosure agreements, often via my day job, with many tool companies.  Some of the companies presenting may be connected to my employer by overlapping board members or other typical business arrangements.  Also, I organized the schedule below from equal parts of trying to fill the blog, a bit of compulsion and to organize tweet-watching from back in MA; I am not going to be in SF (nor could I really imagine wanting to go)

Monday January 9th

Tuesday January 10th

Wednesday January 11th

Thursday January 12th

I didn't see Two Pore Guys (2PG) on the agenda or in the list of private companies.  This could be an omission in the J.P. Morgan documents, or it could just reflect that 2PG is aligning some publicity with the conference.  Not only did they release the video I blogged on, but 2PG announced a partnership with a group at UCSF for liquid biopsies in cancer focusing on the G12D mutation of KRAS.

This is hardly unusual; this conference is much akin to a medieval market day, drawing multitudes from far and wide.  Since there are so many biopharma decision makers in one space, it makes a particularly rich environment for making business development connections.  There's even a Startup + Health Festival which is in San Francisco during part of the JPM17 span, even with some of the same speakers) but as far as I can tell it isn't actually run by J.P. Morgan. A bit of Twitter diving and I found a whole list of private events keyed on the conference. I've known a few people to book at the AGBT hotel but not the conference in order to make connections, but the J.P. Morgan event apparently has this on a spectacular scale.

Other companies have other news tied to the conference.  Foundation Medicine just moved its CEO, Michael Pellini (who is listed as the speaker for FMI at JPM17) up to Chairman and installed a new CEO in ex-Genentech oncology head Troy Cox.  

Illumina, which has some technology speculation by both myself and James Hadfield, has announced a huge ($1B! ) stock placement for their Grail spinoff.  An effect of this, noted by stock analyst Paul Knight at Janney is that now Grail will be paying market rates for reagents.  This plus the non-controlling interest Illumina will have (if I understand the accounting rules; I'll never pay the GAAP penalty to align my knowledge precisely!) means that Illumina can now record their sales to Grail as revenue.  So Illumina loses control but effectively gains a huge customer.

Rough weather is playing with flights from the East Coast and Pacific Northwest, leading to many laments on Twitter by stranded would-be JPM17 goers. The weather in San Francisco sounds bad too.  But neither rain nor snow will stay the business development folk from their appointed rounds, and should those rounds cause some news in the genomics sector, I'll plan to dig into it.

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