[From the Scene] Neuroscience takes center stage at JP Morgan 2020

By Lim Jeong-yeo
  • Published : Jan 16, 2020 - 15:06
  • Updated : Jan 16, 2020 - 15:06

SAN FRANCISCO -- The key takeaways from the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2020 held in San Francisco this week have been the increased attention to neuroscience and cell and gene therapies among global pharmaceutical companies.

Neuroscience was a recurring theme in participating firms’ research. Big pharmas Biogen, Roche, Eli Lilly, Takeda and others put forth their pipelines for Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease for investors to take a look. 

JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2020 (Joint Press Corps.)

Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos expressed confidence about the US Food and Drug Administration’s potential approval of its Alzheimer’s disease treatment pipeline, aducanumab, while Roche CEO Bill Andersen stressed, “Neuroscience has the potential to be in 2020s what oncology has been in the last decade.”

Cell and gene therapies were also a point of interest, with global contract manufacturing firms Lonza and Catalent saying in their presentations that they were pursuing allogeneic CMO deals -- cell and gene therapies that can be scaled up for mass production. 

The JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2020 has set the town of San Francisco abuzz with the most economic activity the region has seen in a year.

Conference organizers estimated some 9,000 attendees were at the Westin St. Francis. More than 400 companies, both public and private, were delivering presentations.

Westin St. Francis (Joint Press Corps.)
Westin St. Francis (Joint Press Corps.)

Korean pharmaceuticals firms Samsung Biologics and Celltrion presented business expansion plans in the Grand Ballroom of the Main Track.

Five other Korean companies -- Genexine, Hugel, LG Chem Life Sciences, Hanmi Pharmaceutical and Daewoong Pharmaceutical -- presented in the Emerging Market Track on the same day.

The JP Morgan Healthcare Conference has taken place at Westin St. Francis for the past 38 years. Despite requests from attendees to hold the event at a bigger hotel or a different city, JP Morgan is reportedly adamant on sticking to the historic location.

Before its acquisition by JP Morgan in 2001 and Chase by 2000, the annual health care forum was called Hambrecht & Quist (H&Q) for 17 years from 1983.

Westin St. Francis (Joint Press Corps.)

By Lim Jeong-yeo (
Korea Herald correspondent