Why attending JP Morgan should be a priority for Swedish companies

The big number of attendees and parallel activities make JP Morgan Healthcare week an exceptional event, which is why SwedenBIO offers support to Swedish companies looking to head west for new business opportunities.

J.P Morgan Healthcare week in January of each year jump-starts the business year for the life science industry. Thousands of investors and life science executives from all over the world gather in San Francisco. SwedenBIO coordinates a Swedish delegation each year and supports members in different ways to make the most out of the hectic JPM week.

We asked Evelina Vågesjö, co-founder and CEO of Ilya Pharma, Anne-Marie Wenthzel, CBO of Sprint Bioscience, and the International director of SwedenBIO, Marjo Puumalainen, to share their experiences from JPM.

Marjo Puumalainen (left) and Frida Eriksson from SwedenBIO at JP Morgan.

Marjo Puumalainen, SwedenBIO

“Member companies planning to come should notify us early on”

Why is it important for Swedish companies to go to JPM?

It’s a special life science conference. The whole inner city of San Francisco is filled with investors and executives from all over the world covering biotech, medtech and pharma and you never know who you’ll meet at the breakfast table. Opportunities for networking and setting up meetings during JPM are endless, as “everyone” is there. As it’s also the first conference of the year, many attendees are curious to get the prognosis for the industry for the upcoming year – how do investors and big pharma project the new year? Swedish companies should not miss such opportunities to find partners and stay up-to-date.

What kind of support does SwedenBIO offer for member companies wanting to participate?

In general, we support our members by offering guidance on how to make the most out of JPM. This year (2024) we offered our member companies a discount code to Biotech Showcase, which is one of the partnering conferences during JPM. We also offered our members access to BusinessSweden’s premises to host meetings, it’s very valuable given the pressure on meeting locations. We also organized a Swedish breakfast together with BusinessSweden, the Swedish Consulate and Swedish Chamber of Commerce to kick-off the JPM week.

For what kind of life science companies is JPM relevant?

JPM week can be seen as a large partnering platform that is relevant for many types of life science companies. Many use the week to meet with current partners and look for new ones. Companies can be looking for investors or pharma as well as large companies. For CROs and CDMOs, JPM can be a challenging platform.

What is your message to Swedish companies considering to attend JPM?

During JPM you can meet potential partners using targeted partnering but also have plenty of unplanned interactions. Like any partnering conference, it’s good to plan your visit to make the most out of it. Booking your accommodation early is especially important for JPM. Member companies planning to come should let us know early on. We’re happy to support their attendance and can guide them to the right events and people.

Anne-Marie Wenthzel, Sprint Bioscience

“It requires comfortable trainers to run between all the meetings”

What are your objectives in attending JPM?

We’re in San Fransisco during JPM week to network. We meet already-established contacts and connect with new ones. We discuss our programs with potential licensees, follow up on previous conversations, and meet 1-to-1 with partners for focused conversations.

What makes JPM special?

It’s one-of-a-kind! Industry people from all over the world meet in the city to discuss business. Meetings take place in an organized form at one of the conferences held during the week and in private arrangements in hotels and cafes. Everyone is there to meet and network.

What is your experience from Biotech Showcase?

It’s an opportunity to get in touch with companies you haven’t yet established contact with. It’s the pharmaceutical industry, biotech companies, and service companies that attend and the meeting can be a good base for the week in San Fransisco.

What advice do you have for other Swedish companies looking to attend JPM?

The JPM week is both time- and resource-consuming. A good week in San Francisco requires proper preparation, good foresight…and comfortable trainers to run between all the meetings.

Evelina Vågesjö, Ilya Pharma

“It’s like Almedalen but for biotech and 10 000 bigger!”

The JPM Healthcare conference is by invitation only. How do you manage to get invited?

Our previous CFO had a great career at JP Morgan US and UK and used to be involved in organizing similar events in other sectors so we got an opportunity to present Ilya Pharma, our data and anticipated business and then we got invited one year. I guess we did well as we keep getting invited.

What is your personal experience from the JPM Healthcare conference?

Small companies need to be very precise in describing themselves and their objectives. As Ilya Pharma is within specialty pharma and not mainstream or conventional modalities or indications, the meetings we get, or don’t get, serve also a good indicator of the general interest in our field.

What advice do you have for other Swedish companies looking to attend JPM week?

There are a lot of opportunities connected with the JPM Week. One does not have to be at any of the conferences to get a lot done! Many start planning months before to arrange relevant meetings that are aligned with their business or financing objectives. For biotech and biopharma businesses, securing and closing a deal or achieving significant financing takes time and trends come and go. I believe one needs to be in the market, where the conversations are and to build relations with likeminded – it’s like Almedalen but for biotech and 10 000 bigger!