JPM18 A Preview

JPM18 A Preview

It goes without saying that the J P Morgan HealthCare Conference in San Francisco is a great way to start the year. Besides being in that beautiful city by the bay, there is plenty of wackiness going on at the Westin St. Francis. As always the conference will be packed and badges will be commanding a healthy premium on the black market. Just kidding but not a bad idea when you think about it. But we digress.

Anyway looking over the schedule Monday and Tuesday will be the busiest days and we’ll be paying close attention when Abbott (NYSE: ABT) presents Monday afternoon at 4pm followed by Dexcom Tuesday at 11am – NOTE all times are Pacific Standard Time. Although we don’t expect a cat fight between these two companies its sure beginning to feel like one. Most on the Street are giving Abbott the edge but Dexcom has been battling back and likely will have something to say about who wins this fight.

Tuesday at 4:30 we’ll be attentive when Insulet (NASDAQ: PODD) presents especially since Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) will have presented at 9 am Monday morning. It’s somewhat ironic that Insulet comes right after Lilly (NYSE: LLY) presents at 4pm Tuesday. Yes it seems everyone wants to build a way cool whiz bang insulin pump but other than Medtronic no one has been able to make money at it.

Insulet seems to be on the verge of making money and with Tandem (NASDAQ: TNDM), whom we did not see on the roster, getting ready to implode it would seem that market dynamics are moving in their favor. We don’t see them taking serious share from Medtronic but we do see them benefiting from being the last man standing next to the Empire. Let’s face facts even if everything goes well at Lilly, and it won’t, they are at least 18 months away likely longer from bringing their way cool whiz bang toy to market.

Of course we have to sit in and see what our wine drinking friends say on Tuesday at 9:30. Will they mention their partnership with Google, unlikely. Will they try to put lipstick on a pig, most definitely. Will they, like Lilly, say they want to be an insulin pump company, wouldn’t surprise us. Will anything they say have a material impact on their diabetes franchise, nope.

We’re debating whether to sit in when Johnson and Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) presents at 2:30 on Monday as they really aren’t in diabetes anymore. Sure they have Invonkana but with Animas shutting down and LifeScan for sale, we’re not sure anything they say will be relevant. Maybe we’ll get lucky and they will announce they have found a buyer for LifeScan but even that announcement doesn’t matter all that much. The fact is this once proud franchise is deader than a door nail.

But let’s be honest here it’s not what happens when a company presents or what they say in the breakout sessions, which we are glad to report will be open to the media, guess the folks at JPM realized that we live in America and there is reason we have a free press. Censorship is never a good idea especially when it comes to giving investors access to the folks who are responsible for making these investments grow.

No the real action at JPM takes place in the hallways, bars, Starbucks and some great restaurants in this great city. This is what makes JPM the great show that it is, it’s a treasure trove of information. We honestly learn more from the scuttle butt that goes on in the trenches then we do at any presentation or breakout session. The Westin is always filled beyond capacity making navigating the hallways and stairwells a neat trick, which of course is part of the JPM charm.

So stay tuned everyone as per our custom we’ll be writing when we can find the time, plus this year we’ll also be Tweeting – well we’re going to try.