Top 3 Announcements at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference 2019

by GeneOnline
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By Joanne Shih

The 37th annual J.P. Morgan (JPM) Healthcare Conference was held in San Francisco on January 7-10 this year. It was one of the most informative investment symposium in the healthcare industry. Thousands of industry leaders, scientists, investors from more than 450 private and public companies came to the convention.

2018 was a flourishing year for biotech and biopharma industry. Progress in genomic medicine, CRISPR, CAR-T, immune checkpoint inhibitors, and AI application in healthcare were phenomenal in the history of medicine. Private sector plays a key role in accelerating research discovery and translating lab work into clinical application. On the heels of many advancements in last year, the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference overviewed and set the tone for healthcare industry in a new business year. Some important mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals and groundbreaking development were announced during the meeting.

Bristol-Myers Squibb will buy Celgene

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) announced to acquire Celgene in a cash and stock transaction with a value of approximately $74 billion. Looking at Celgene’s hematology and immunology portfolio, the company is expecting a 12% growth in total revenue which will be $17.0 billion to $17.2 billion in comparison with the $15.2 billion in 2018. Revlimid developed by Celgene for multiple myeloma is on the top of its profile, and is expected to generate approximately $10.8 billion in 2019. Investors are also looking closely at Pomalyst, Otezla and Abraxane by Celgene and an immune checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo by BMS. In addition, Celgene is working on the clinical trials of Ozanimod and some hematological therapeutics including Fedratinib, Luspatercept, Liso-cel, bb2121, and plans to launch those drugs by year-end 2019.

Eli Lilly acquired precision-cancer-drug company Loxo Oncology

Another significant M&A deal in the pharmaceutical industry is that Eli Lilly acquired Loxo Oncology for $235 per share in cash, or approximately $8 billion. Loxo Oncology biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of precision medicine for cancer. This acquisition is an add-on to Eli Lilly’s oncology portfolio and will propel Eli Lilly to take the lead in the game of precision medicines. What makes Loxo Oncology stand out in the game is Vitrakvi, a first-in-class oral TRK inhibitor developed in collaboration with Bayer. It was the first FDA-approved treatment that targets a specific genetic abnormality to receive a tumor-agnostic indication. In addition to the TRK inhibitor, LOXO-195, a second-generation TRK fusion drug is also a highlight on Loxo ’s portfolio, and is expected to hit the market in 2022. Other approved and investigational medicines by Loxo Oncology such as LOXO-292 and LOXO-305 are also setting a promising outlook for treatment of multiple cancer types including lung and thyroid cancers and B-cell leukemias and lymphomas.

Sage Therapeutics took the lead in treating postpartum depression

Sage Therapeutics reported positive results from its Phase III ROBIN Study of a postpartum depression drug SAGE-217. Postpartum depression (PPD) is a long overlooked, however life-altering central nervous system (CNS) disorder for many women. Sage Therapeutics evaluated the efficacy and safety of the oral drug SAGE-217, and proved that SAGE-217, a next generation positive allosteric modulator can significantly improve the symptom of PPD. Research also shown that SAGE-217 is like to be effective for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and certain other mood disorders, which means the drug is likely to be applicable to tens of millions of patients with related disorders. As a result of the announcement, Sage Therapeutics’ market capitalization went up 34%.

Outlooking pharmaceutical industry in 2019

The biggest two M&A deals in the biopharmaceutical industry both focused on oncology assets. While BMS and Eli Lilly captured most attention at the meeting, other key players in pharmaceutical business including Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Teva, and many others also presented to talk about their plans and strategies for the year. Immunotherapy, cell therapy and CAR-T drug will be the main focus of many companies, and business will be taking different approaches to tackle previous hurdles in drug R&D and commercialization.

Chris Ventresca, Global Co-Head of Mergers & Acquisitions at J.P. Morgan, shared his opinion on the global market in a video, pointing that companies are looking for better options for business in the long run.


  1. 37th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference Official Site
  2. Celgene Official Press Release: Celgene Corporation Announces 2019 Financial Guidance and Key Milestones
  3. Bristol-Myers Squibb Presentation at the 37th JPM Healthcare Conference
  4. Eli Lilly Official Press Release: Lilly Announces Agreement To Acquire Loxo Oncology
  5. Sage Therapeutics Official Press Release: Sage Therapeutics Announces SAGE-217 Meets Primary and Secondary Endpoints in Phase 3 Clinical Trial in Postpartum Depression
  6. The Motley Fool:
  7. FiercePharma:


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