Tag Archives: biotech

JP Morgan Healthcare Investor Conference 2020

The “go-to” and granddaddy of ALL healthcare conferences

by Gregg A. Masters, MPH

It’s about time to start thinking about the ‘Woodstock’ of healthcare investor focused innovation conferences to be held in San Francisco, California in January of 2020.

For more information and context on what to expect checkout JP Morgan’s “Insights & Implications from the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference”.

More will be posted here once the JP Morgan portal is published, which we expect to be in the October or November timeline. It’s often a slow build on completing and publishing the program schedule.

One of the characteristics unlike any other conference I attend during the year is this is not just the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, it is literally a healthcare and life sciences innovation “love-fest” – that is if you believe “men in suits” (usually those wearing pinksocks, ie, the ‘real men wear pink types) are capable of letting go of their protective, risk averse due diligence tools and open up to the rich stream of informational insights afforded by our inner ‘knower‘ – the voice we occasionally hear but rarely listen to let alone or act upon.

One of the bigger and better attended events is the StartUp Health Festival which has become the gathering place for healthcare innovators and the ‘army of transformers‘ StartUp Health is fueling.

Some posts from last year’s conference:

#JPM19 Best Bets

37th JP Morgan Healthcare Investor Conference

Day One #JPM19

What I Didn’t See at @JPMorgan Healthcare Conference #JPM19

Finally, as a committed community steward, sharing for free and for fun via the social domain, we’ve again registered the ‘un-official#JPM20 hashtag with our friends as Symplur via the health hashtag project – the go-to registrar for healthcare related hashtags.

More shortly!

==##==

What I Didn’t See at @JPMorgan Healthcare Conference #JPM19

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.

If your interest is piqued at all here, one source of tracking the public cannabis sector is via New Cannabis Ventures published by Houston based Alan Brochstein, CFA.

As always, I invite your comments including alternative points of view.

Best!

Day One #JPM19

by Gregg A. Masters, MPH

The must be a part of healthcare investor gathering launches today in San Francisco – perhaps for the last time.

Fortunately, JP Morgan continues its tradition of inviting access and engagement in the content streamed by participating companies. In order to access the program agenda, list of participating companies, profiles, supporting decks and scheduled webcasts you need to register and agree to the terms of service stipulated by the underwriting host and principals from JP Morgan.

The portal for registration is accessible here.

The Monday morning line-up kicks off with many bellwether pharma and biotech performers including Celgene’s  pending acquisition by Bristol Meyers Squibb in the convergent pharma, life sciences and biotech sectors, as well the year end results from Medicaid managed care market leader Centene (including the combined operating performance of California innovator in the HMO space, HealthNet).

There is so much to follow to gain insights on the performance of operators in the payor, provider and supplier, including medical device sectors.

Do not miss this time limited availability of material insights into the complex ecosystem of the U.S. healthcare economy.

37th JP Morgan Healthcare Investor Conference

by Gregg A. Masters, MPH

When William Hambrecht and George Quist founded Hambrecht & Quist (H&Q) in 1968, the ’boutique’ firm launched as an investment bank based in San Francisco, California notably focusing on the then emerging yet rather nascent technology and Internet sectors.

Clearly, Bill and George were a prescient duo as H&Q was:

“an early player in the technology sector, underwriting initial public offerings (IPOs) for Apple Computer, Genentech, and Adobe Systems in the 1980s. In the 1990s, H&Q also backed the IPOs of Netscape, MP3.com, and Amazon.com.”

Some 36 annual conferences later, and now squarely in the hands of perhaps the prototypical trophy U.S. investment bank, JP Morgan, H&Q’s legacy ‘healthcare investor‘ commitment has morphed into a life sciences, biotech, pharma and healthcare innovation ‘mega‘ event that is both going strong and has seeded several derivative strains of related gatherings from the DOCSF to the StartUp Health Festival, the BioTech Showcase and many other ecosystem stakeholders footprints including broker, management consulting, accounting and law firm sponsored events, i.e., the combined Deloitte, E & Y & McDermott Law gathering.

You can access both via the JP Morgan webcast portal for a limited time here. This is a free service but does require your registration. Search the ‘sessions’ tab for the respective webcast. Some of the reporting companies’ supply their decks for reference as well.

According to JP Morgan Healthcare website, and implied below via ‘while it is still at the Westin‘ – this is the last year San Francisco will host this must attend event – the firm scales the gathering as follows:

“Today, while it is still at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference brings thousands of investors from around the world together. The hundreds of companies presenting run the gamut, from start-ups to those with more than $300 billion in market cap, and encompass the entire global healthcare landscape, including pharmaceutical firms, healthcare service providers, profit and not-for-profits, and medical device companies.”

JP Morgan Guides

This week of somewhat ‘frenetic‘ activity can be tough to schedule and navigate. Some of the best guides we’ve found are provided by BIO via their ‘One-on-One Partnering™ @ JPM, Rock Health, Big3BioSF, and relative ‘newcomer‘ and registrar dot.health.

For the ultimate private event, reception and party calendar, c/o BIO and MacDougall Biomedical Communications see: ‘Private Events around the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.’

Tracking the conversation

For the 5th out of the last 6 years, Health Innovation Media has registered the #JPM19 ‘un-official’ hashtag courtesy of the ‘go-to‘ health hashtags project sponsored by Symplur. The digital dashboard is accessible here.

You can also pull time limited transcripts of tweets and select analytics demonstrating the reach, engagement and ‘social capital‘ of participants in the conversational stream.

Follow tweets via #JPM19 and consider following me via @2healthguru.

35th Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference

by Gregg A. Masters, MPH

This will be the 3rd of the last 4 years that we’ve registered the arguably ‘go-to’ investor industry conference hashtag #JPM17 tracking healthcare innovation, biotech, pharma, life sciences and delivery system innovation with the popular conference and health hashtag registrar Symplur.

Since we couldn’t find a definitive JPMorgan Healthcare Conference program schedule (they are likely to publish sometime in mid to late December), we’re using this post to register #JPM17 – for the most recent JP Morgan industry reports see:insights for healthcare’.

jpm17_portalAs with prior years, we’ll  update the posted schedule via a series of context specific blog posts once the program line-up is published here. Accessing the rich content JP Morgan makes available is free and simply requires registration. The webcasts which typically include presentation decks where available are usually quite informative; some are audio only.

Prior years insights If It’s January, It’s JP Morgan Healthcare Conference’, ‘33rd Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference‘ and Must listen JP Morgan Healthcare Conference Webcasts: Teladoc‘.

attitude-jpm16NOTE: JP Morgan generously shares both video, audio and supporting decks for many of the presentations. However, the links do expire after a while, so depending on when you attempt to view or listen they may not stream – a good reason to consume the amazing content once produced. My favorite series has consistently been the ‘non-profit’ track as health systems – the uptake gatekeepers of much envisioned innovation – typically share their vision and macro strategic glide-paths more often than not offering up many cues and insights to the marketplace of aspiring innovators. 

As with past years, Health Innovation Media will be on the ground sporting their ‘real men wear#pinksocks and interviewing thought leaders, entrepreneurs, VC’s and startups CEOs for their insights and strategies.

Enjoy!

 

If Its January, It’s JP Morgan Healthcare Conference

by Gregg A. Masters, MPH

Some may remember Hambrecht and Quist  (H&Q) the boutique San Francisco based tech focused investment bank that democratized the IPO market via Open IPO‘ offerings including Overstock.comSalon Media Group and Ravenswood Winery.

In a previous decade of ‘urge to merge’ in the sector Chase Manhatten acquired H&Q the legendary tech focused firm circa 2001, see: ‘Culture shock — J.P. Morgan jolts Hambrecht & Quist then fused with JP Morgan. In the merger mix was the prized asset of the Annual H&Q Healthcare and Life Sciences Conference.

Since then driven by ‘do more to earn more’ fee-for-services incentives healthcare, life sciences and technology innovation including the exploding (retail) digital health market have fueled massive sector expansions, the ‘gathering of  men in suits‘ (see classic 2011 post ‘Alas, No Line for the Ladies’ Room via Lisa Suennen aka @venturevalkyrie) in Union Square has grown and some may say ‘metastasized’ with B and C team events clustered in and around the primary conference venue for parties, networking and ‘business intel‘ acquisition.jpm13_analytics

As principally a blogger, twitter aficionado and digital content producer and someone who’s been a the table of a deal or two in the health system, medical group and health plan world I like to follow all three of these industries with an emphasis on innovation in the public’s interest.

Recent pharma price gouging revelations and the ‘perp walk‘ theater of former Turing Pharma CEO Martin Shkreli frames the potential for self dealing, opportunistic exits and over the top hubris in all three sectors absent anchorage to the ‘greater good‘ or sustainable healthcare economy.

jpm14_analyticsJPM15_analytics

For three out of the last four years I’ve registered the ‘unofficial’ hashtag #JPMxx for the conference which peeps in social media use to tag, archive and report their impressions, reach and engagement metrics. Many more will be in this space this year touting their deep dive slicing and dicing analytics capabilities given the widespread attention placed on this august assembly.

One of the really cool features of the event is JP Morgan streams via the web some of the presentations and Q&A sessions (which I understand is by client or presenting company election) which come in handy if like me you want to be in more than one place at a time. Some examples from last year were posted to ACO Watch, a sister publication of Health Innovation Media, on the health plan and non profit sectors. Previously on my dance card was reporting by Universal American from the ACO space, see:Universal American: A ‘Healthy Collaboration?’’ andUniversal American: A Sign of Things to Come? As an ACO management company in addition to their presence in the Medicare Advantage (risk) market, watching their entry, selective exits and strategy tweaks along the way has been insightful as the ‘accountable care’ market continues to grow, mature and evolve.

JPM15_non profit track
JP Morgan Non-profit track 2015

This year we’re starting to see some of the company webcasts and Q&A’s posted including Allscripts, Amedysis, Athena HealthUniversal AmericanCentene (HealthNet suitor), Molina Healthcare, Magellan HealthTenet HealthcareLabCorp, CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Healthsouth, Cigna, Mckesson (including U.S. Oncology), Genomic Health, Pacific Biosciences, InovalonIllumina and more.

The principal portal for registration to access the livestreams is available here (not yet populated at the time of this post).

Stay tuned! This event is a likely bellwether for macro movement in the year to come and beyond. I am always interested in what gets put together in the ‘non-profit‘ track.

Here some of the largest ‘tax exempt’ health systems – often the gatekeepers of innovation uptake – give clues as to where they see the market going and how they ialan portelantend to position their complex and often legacy inertia driven enterprises to thrive in the volume-to- value shift and underlying ecosystem transformation.

For context, a summary post of the flair from last year is here. In 2014 Aetna Chairman, President and CEO Mark T. Bertolini outlined the value proposition of ‘the network’ given the massive shift underway in value based healthcare, I summarize inIt’s All About the Network‘.

Health Innovation Media will again be on the ground with my colleague and co-host Nick Adkins (@NickisnPDX). We’ll be interviewing selectively and occasionally dispensing ‘pinksocks‘ to those with a genuine interesting story to tell.

Finally, if you intend to be in the square join some of us at ‘un-official’ TweetUp: details and registration here.

JP Morgan 2015: Strategic Tea Leaves from the Non-Profit Track

By Gregg A. Masters, MPH

Most who follow the JP Morgan Healthcare extravaganza search for clues to short, long term or even nano second high frequency trading equity plays – witness the flurry of pre-event ‘news’ releases, ‘how to follow’ the event tomes, preferred ‘investment themes’, and ‘what to expect’ guides, etc. Yet from my perspective the ‘below the radar’ value from this gathering is the strategic insight to be gleaned from the trophy and lesser known 501(c)3 or their derivative for profit JVs or affiliates sharing their vision, approach and results to a market with tectonic shifts in its midst.JP Morgan Non Profit Track Companies

Trophy nameplates the likes of Kaiser Permanente, Cleveland Clinic, Ascension Health, Sutter Health, Advocate Health, and Intermountain Healthcare seed an impressive class of variably mature operators with varying relative success in the integrative delivery system and risk contracting and management theatre.

As ‘uptake gatekeepers’ if you will, for many of the innovations – whether HealthIT, biotech, biopharma or care delivery (population health, care management, etc.) related, these systems are excellent proxies for indicia if not the profile of granular value adds enabling a sustainable healthcare ecosystem.

The rapid proliferation of ‘innovation centers’ organized under ‘Chief Innovation Officers’ with line operational authority and a mission to disrupt legacy or ‘this is how we do it’ institutional inertia evidences the priority of the ‘triple aim’ in the healthcare C-suite.

Provider-led health plans: The next frontier—or the 1990s all over again?

As you watch and/or listen to some of these reports (including that which is NOT said), consider the following recent report issued by Mckinsey as it drills into the macro environment as well as the operating weeds of health systems pursuing an ‘integration strategy’ via acquiring or building a health plan group in its operating portfolio. The timely report is titled: ‘Provider-led health plans: The next frontier—or the 1990s all over again?’

Getting it ‘right’ this time may be the last ‘kiss at the apple’ to salvage the public/private partnership  as principal host of the U.S. health system. How these systems vision, structure and pursue the triple aim, i.e.,  better care, better outcomes at lower per capita cost will in larger measure determine the industry’s collective success.

As noted by one of the report authors:

‘This is clearly a segment we should be paying attention to…There has been a lot of discussion wondering if the market is just a repeat of the 1990s… I think time will tell, but there are three or four reasons why I think it could be different than the 1990s.’  Gunjan Khanna, PhD

For additional context if not insight from an ACO or accountable care perspective, see: ‘Universal American: No Where in Sight at JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2015’.

JPMorgan Healthcare Conference 2015: 33 Years Later We’re Still Searching…

By Gregg A. Masters, MPH

JPM15_home_registrationIt looks like this will be the third year in a row that I participate albeit via 2nd level engagement ‘touch points’ in the proceedings principally via side bar event or private party invite [or crashing], the rich twitter stream and a most generous schedule of webcasted company presentations. To follow the free JPM 2015 webcasts you can register here (simple email registration is required).

As someone trained in the behavioral sciences and public health or its more contemporary version framed as ‘population health’ where the focus is on the health and wellbeing of whole populations, I rarely follow niche biotech, pharma or medical device investment themes per se. Rather, I am singularly interested in monitoring the vision, strategy initiatives and outcomes reported by a rather heterogeneous cohort otherwise grouped by JP Morgan under a ‘non profit companies’ track – mostly tax exempt health [hospital] systems. While many of these entities may be virtually indistinguishable from the for-profit brethren, how they organize, partner, joint venture or chose to extend beyond their core businesses [or not] is always a fascinating story. Further, as ‘uptake gatekeepers’ if not the customer for many of the innovations presented by participating companies at JPM15, measuring their sentiment or ‘buy-in’ is one way to gage the likely relevance of the product, service, platform or ‘IP’.JPM15_non profit track

Following the passage of the Affordable Care Act it’s fair to say that we’re in the midst (albeit early) of a fundamental restructuring of an arguably $3 trillion ‘cottage industry.’ Seeded originally under the pillars of ‘cost plus’ for hospitals and ‘usual, customary and prevailing’ charges for physicians we created a supply driven perfect storm of a silo-ed healthcare [non] systems incentivized or perhaps addicted to more. Where do more meant, earn more. That is now changing and everyone agrees that ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option. The question is what is the footprint of these new, emerging or re-tooled business models and who are the value added partners that enable the expression of ‘new term sheet’ success at scale?

With that in mind, I reviewed the line-up for this year and note the following partial list of companies reporting in the non-profit track. Be mindful that for these links to work you must register before opening them. There is a contextual story (provider type, market characteristics, risk tolerance and prevailing culture) to each of their reporting. For example, I am most interested in the post merger vision of Baylor and Scott and White, where a group practice medical group centered IDN has affiliated with a more traditional albeit progressive hospital system. Who’s cultural DNA will prevail post merger?

Good luck and enjoy!

Also, the twitter hashtag is #JPM15. Follow the dashboard here and follow me on twitter via @2healthguru.

 

The ‘Non Profit Track’ Participating Companies

JPM15 Non Profit Track Webcasts
http://jpmorgan.metameetings.com/confbook/healthcare15/nfp_companies.php

Ascension

http://jpmorgan.metameetings.com/confbook/healthcare15/company.php?company=Ascension&p=17295&special_list_title=

Advocate Health Care

http://jpmorgan.metameetings.com/confbook/healthcare15/company.php?company=Advocate+Health+Care&p=17303&special_list_title=

Adventist Health System

http://jpmorgan.metameetings.com/confbook/healthcare15/company.php?company=Adventist+Health+System&p=17316&special_list_title=

Baylor Scott & White Health

http://jpmorgan.metameetings.com/confbook/healthcare15/company.php?company=Baylor+Scott+%26+White+Health&p=17298&special_list_title=

Barnabas Health

http://jpmorgan.metameetings.com/confbook/healthcare15/company.php?company=Barnabas+Health&p=17311&special_list_title=

Catholic Health Initiatives

http://jpmorgan.metameetings.com/confbook/healthcare15/company.php?company=Catholic+Health+Initiatives&p=17305&special_list_title=

Trinity Health

http://jpmorgan.metameetings.com/confbook/healthcare15/company.php?company=Trinity+Health&p=17356&special_list_title=

Partners HealthCare System

http://jpmorgan.metameetings.com/confbook/healthcare15/company.php?company=Partners+HealthCare+System&p=17296&special_list_title=

Mercy Health (formerly Catholic Health Partners)

http://jpmorgan.metameetings.com/confbook/healthcare15/company.php?company=Mercy+Health+%28formerly+Catholic+Health+Partners%29&p=17317&special_list_title=

Legacy Health

http://jpmorgan.metameetings.com/confbook/healthcare15/company.php?company=Legacy+Health&p=17375&special_list_title=

Kaiser Permanente

http://jpmorgan.metameetings.com/confbook/healthcare15/company.php?company=Kaiser+Permanente&p=17508&special_list_title=

Geisinger Health System

http://jpmorgan.metameetings.com/confbook/healthcare15/company.php?company=Geisinger+Health+System&p=17300&special_list_title=

Dignity Health

http://jpmorgan.metameetings.com/confbook/healthcare15/company.php?company=Dignity+Health&p=17310&special_list_title=

University of California Health

http://jpmorgan.metameetings.com/confbook/healthcare15/company.php?company=University+of+California+Health&p=17304&special_list_title=Not-For-Profit%20Companies

—##—

33rd Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference

By Gregg A. Masters, MPH

JPM15_home_registrationSince we’re poised for perhaps the trophy healthcare investor conference of 2015 – the 33rd Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, I thought I’d repost one or more earlier observations and link back to previous articles of interest that may provide context for benchmarking progress in digital health, accountable care or the generalized pursuit of a sustainable healthcare ecosystem via innovation – which the parties in interest to this gathering are presumptively championing.

JPM15_lineupIn years’ past JP Morgan has generously streamed via webcast select events. This is a good thing since access to the event is generally closely held, i.e., media credentials are very difficult to get.

This year apparently that access is being somewhat further limited according to Adam Feuerstein of TheStreet.com wherein he ‘outs’ a handful of players via ‘Public Shame for Biotechs Not Webcasting ‘JPM15’ Breakout Sessions.

Depending on the availability of the proceedings here are just a few of last year’s title pieces produced by the savvy healthcare analysts at JP Morgan that set the emerging zeitgeist for industry leadership:JPM15_home

And for relevant time-line context on ACOs or accountable care or the holy quest for health plan ‘morphogenesis’ (i.e., continuing ‘relevance’) see: ‘It’s All About the Network (thoughts courtesy of Aetna Chairman, President and CEO Mark Bertolini @mtbert) and the introduction to 2014 event ‘JP Morgan Healthcare Conference Unbundled: Something for Everyone?‘ as starters.

Meanwhile here’s last year’s observation posted to @ACOwatch on January 14th, 2014:

aco.watch.avatar

Perhaps the trophy event in the biotech, pharma and even innovation in the ‘non-profit sector’ from the likes of Dignity HealthCleveland Clinic and Advocate Healthcare, the ‘suits’ of the investor class (heck even Adam Feuerstein was alleged to have been sporting a tie – at least on Monday) descended upon Union Square. While a closed event,  one needs an invite from a JP Morgan Analyst – at least this is what I was told last year, happily they permit access to the webcasts to those unable to attend.

So if you are an interested party but unable to attend this august gathering the line-up is viewable the access page. A simple email registration is required [Updated for 2015].

Here are the resources available for those who can not make this annual august gathering:

The master agenda is here, you may need to register to progress beyond the gateway. I am already in. If the link doesn’t default to the registration gateway, click on the ‘welcome page‘.

This is an amazing conference with incredible insights that possess their own unique ‘strain’ of delivery given the principal audience includes analysts, other investors and the financial media that report on the industry writ large.

For those who prefer to follow on twitter the event hashtag is #jpm14 (#JPM15) and the digital dashboard can be accessed here. The sessions generated the web impressions pasted below which some refer to as ‘vanity metrics’. We disagree! 37 mil web impressions which translate into ‘potential views’ or account deliveries is powerful both in real time and from a downstream ‘tail’ data mining or keyword cloud or theme narrative extraction perspective. In other words, it all starts with visibility.

No visibility, no brand or conversational mindshare!

jpm 14 total impressions

For those following via the twitter hashtag #JPM15 here is last year’s digital footprint. Some 36,948,863 web impressions (each tweet is an indexed web page) is not bad for a venue that doesn’t pay much attention (or so it seems) to social media.

For what it’s worth, for the last two years, I’ve registered the #JPM14 and #JPM15 hashtags with the hashtag registar Symplur. This permits the creation of a digital dashboard of sorts, that enables both analytics reporting and transcript pulls.

The registrar is Symplur is known for having created ‘the healthcare hashtags projects’ a rich repository of healthcare conferences, and for many is the ‘go to’ resource for registering healthcare hashtags.