JPM Morning Session

JPM Morning Session

Well the conference is off and running so let’s get right to it. The day got off to a rousing start with Intarcia and simply put these guys are kicking some serious butt. There is a reason this company has raised over $1 Billion and will likely be one of the more anticipated IPO’s when they do decide to go public. With the exenatide micropump now before the FDA, the company continues to expand their diabetes pipeline announcing another deal today this one with the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr).

Per the obligatory press release;

“Intarcia Therapeutics, Inc. and the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr) today announced a strategic research collaboration focused on the development of a novel peptide therapeutic leveraging Calibr’s Stapled-Peptide Platform Technology. Intarcia plans to develop and administer this novel therapy in combination with Exenatide (a GLP-1 receptor agonist and active agent in Intarcia’s ITCA 650 product), by leveraging its proprietary Medici Drug Delivery System.

Under the terms of the agreement, Calibr will receive an upfront grant of Intarcia equity, with additional shares vesting over key development milestones, as well as undisclosed cash payments on achievement of predetermined regulatory and sales milestones. In addition to the milestone payments, Calibr will be eligible to receive tiered royalties on product sales.”

Take away, these guys have one of the hottest things going.

Next on the docket was Teladoc which only reinforced our view that in the future virtual physician interactions will become the norm. This company has experienced incredible growth and is by far the leader in the growing Tele-Health market. Although the company did not specifically mention diabetes without question their platform fits perfectly into the future of diabetes management. Remember it’s not just physicians who can interact via a smartphone but CDE’s and nurse educators too.

Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) finished off the morning session and not surprisingly they are milking the 670G for all it’s worth. Riding an incredible wave of free positive publicity, the company knows they have the tiger by the tail when it comes to the insulin pump market. They see Tandem (NASDAQ: TNDM) running out of money and know that Animas, Johnson and Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) insulin pump unit, is going nowhere in a hurry. The biggest obstacle for the company continues to be what it always has been; not to screw up a very good thing and protect that goose that continues to lay the golden eggs.

The afternoon session will begin with JNJ who we’re sure will hype their diabetes eco-system. Seriously we just might throw up if we hear this yet again. How the heck does this company expect to compete and win when they won’t invest in the future. We’ll say it again when it comes to JNJ there is no third option it’s go big or go home.

Boy it would be so refreshing if the company would say something like this- “When it comes to our diabetes franchises we screwed up. When times were good we should have lead the way, and sold this unit when it had value. Today we’re stuck with LifeScan which continues to make money but operates in a dying market. We’d like to buy Tandem to help Animas but quite frankly the Animas acquisition has left a bitter taste in our mouths and we just don’t have the appetite to do another pump deal. And yes, we know that when Tandem does implode Medtronic will get the lion’s share of patients but we have accepted that pesky fact. The lone possible bright was supposed to be Invokana and while the SGLT2 market is growing it is also commoditizing. Let’s pray that our cardiovascular data is as good as the data Jardiance has otherwise we’re toast. In summary ladies and gentlemen, we are hoping this really is the wacky world of diabetes where the greater fool theory is alive and very well. That we can dump this franchise into someone else’s lap. Barring that I wouldn’t expect much in the way of good news going forward.”

Our day will end after Insulet (NASDAQ: PODD) presents and we are dying, praying someone will ask the following question during the breakout session;

“Please explain how you plan on competing and winning when you won’t have anything new for at least 2 years and your main competitor is just killing it these days?” A good follow up question might be, “Can you explain why you have gone radio silent when it comes to the very serious allegations made. Why instead of blaming this on investors who have shorted your stock prove to us that these allegations are false.”

Now we are sure other things will pop during the day as this is after all JPM and things have tendency of popping up here. Looking at our schedule not sure if we’ll be able to write again later this evening or provide a wrap of the afternoon sessions in the morning. Stay tuned.