by Gregg A. Masters, MPH
For many reasons the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference seems to serve as the launching pad for what will trend for the balance of the year 2019. From pharma, to biotech, health system, integrated delivery networks, personalized or precision medicine or medical device innovation the potpourri and range of presenting companies provide definite insights beyond the hedged ‘forward looking statements’ reporting in advance of annual or quarterly SEC filings.
Often buried in formal mostly arcane disclosure statements are ‘strategic kernels‘ of what to expect in management’s discussion or operating results including material competitive concerns, any known or expected enabling ‘IP’ or other secret sauce tailwinds or conversely oppositional headwinds of whatever form.
As opined often and elsewhere in years past, see: ‘If Its January, It’s JP Morgan Healthcare Conference‘, a rich stream of those insights could be sourced from the ‘non-proft track‘ where major health systems – arguably the ‘innovation uptake gatekeepers’ – discuss their strategies including the range of joint venture or affiliate companies to work around their typical tax exempt or non-profit status.
Unfortunately, JP Morgan has chosen NOT to stream these vital sessions.
The other ‘conspicuous absence‘ with the exception of GW Pharmaceuticals was the emerging cannabis sector given its growing body of evidence as a viable therapeutic alternative to many current approved medicines, from pain management to the treatment of epilepsy. Cannabis was legalized ‘recreationally‘ at the federal level in Canada in October of this year, joining Uruguay.
In the United States the repeal of the federal prohibition is inevitable in the opinion of this author. For context see: ‘All the places in the world you can (legally) get high on 4/20‘. The national ‘heat map’ below provides the ‘recreational’ vs. ‘medical‘ marijuana picture by state which continues to build out often in some surprising places. It’s not if, but when.
Make no mistake, medical is the foot in the door that states will not be able to resist given the allure of potential tax receipts in state treasuries or the growing body of evidence of its medical upside.
The one cannabis company I found on the agenda of reporting companies at JP Morgan Healthcare Conference was GW Pharmaceuticals, PLC:
‘the global leader in developing cannabinoid-based medicines‘
courtesy of Justin Gover its Chief Executive Officer. The link to the session is here, these are time limited streams as JP Morgan pulls the plug on the content some 60-90 days out. Be sure and listen Glover’s pitch and follow along via the deck supplied.
NOTE: While access is free via JP Morgan Healthcare Conference portal, registration is required for the links supplied in this post. You can register here.
There is so much more to come from the cannabis sector as both consumer product companies (see ‘What Constellation Brands’ Massive Investment In Canopy Growth Corp. Means For Both Companies‘) and pharma giants scour the landscape to find suitable entry points (both acquisitions and mergers) to participate in the inevitable rise of the cannabis sector – both ‘high margin‘ medical and the massive upside of infusion products from beverages to lotions to you fill in the blank.
As always, I invite your comments including alternative points of view.