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canadian entrepreneurs in life science

The Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco - Attendee Highlights and Summary

January 21, 2019 9:00 AM | Po On Yeung (Administrator)

Every January, the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference descends upon San Francisco and is famous for a few major things:

  • Thousands of investors, pharmaceutical firms, healthcare service providers gathering together to connect in person, learn about the latest trends and make deals!
  • Hundreds of side-events all week beyond the conference (some people come for specifically those opportunities)!
  • Rain. Be prepared!

At the Pan-Canadian Panel that CELS (Canadian Entrepreneurs in Life Sciences) organized in the Fall on “Making Connections in the Silicon Valley, experts across the Country emphasized the value in attending this conference, interacting with at the side-events and arranging your meetings ahead of time. To facilitate these meetings, CELS was delighted to promote the dedicated free Canadian meeting space sponsored by the Consulate of Canada San Francisco.

Here are a few first-hand accounts and observations from the week from conference participants:

  1. BIOTECanada Breakfast with Canadian Consul General Rana Sarkar

This year Canada saw a deep presence of leading and up and coming companies participate at JP Morgan - 17 Canadian companies presented at the Biotech Showcase and there was increasing interest from early stage companies at RESI. JP Morgan saw Canada start the year off strong and we're looking forward to 2019!”

Iraina Miles, Trade Commissioner for Life Sciences at the Consulate General of Canada

It was my first time attending the JP Morgan Healthcare conference in San Francisco. The Biotech Canada breakfast was a great kick-off event. There is certainly a buzz about the event around the city. I enjoyed the event immensely as it was a great opportunity to network and learn more about the Canadian biotech industry. The Consul General, Rana Sakar, made a presentation to promote the Consular services offered to Canadian companies. I also greatly appreciated that he raised awareness about Canada’s Global Skills Strategy – a Canadian immigration policy that was announced by the Trudeau government to specifically attract highly skilled talent to Canada and fuel innovation and economic growth. This program is definitely a competitive advantage for Canada’s Biotech and Healthcare industry. I look forward to attending next year! “

Pavan Dhillon, Canadian Immigration Attorney
Dhillon Immigration Website

2) Market Pulse on Healthcare in 2019 at the Nasdaq Center

I personally attended this free event to hear firsthand from healthcare industry experts on what was "hot in healthcare and what was getting funded", in order to build my own knowledge base as an Innovation Professional and to gain insights on sector trends.

I was impressed by the panel of speakers and I wasn’t the only one keen to arrive for a 7:30 am start, as the room was packed and many people had to stand! I appreciated that the Silicon Valley Bank report was sent out to all the attendees afterwards, which you can view here:

After the event, contact details from the speakers were also shared to carry the conversation further:

  • Dan Angius, Managing Director, Nasdaq - Daniel.Angius@nasdaq.com
  • Jon Norris, Managing Director, Silicon Valley Bank - JNorris@svb.com

  • James Huie, Partner, WSGR - jhuie@wsgr.com

  • Scott Burger, Managing Director, KPMG - scottburger@kpmg.com

  • Una Ryan, Managing Director, Golden Seeds (filling in for Sharon Vosmek who couldn’t make it) - uryan1@gmail.com

  • Sharon Vosmek, CEO, Astia - sharon@astia.org

  • Ursheet Parikh, Partner, Mayfield Fund - uparikh@mayfield.com

  • Scott Barclay - scott@dcvc.com

  • Max Eisenberg, General Counsel, Polaris Partners - max@polarispartners.com

  • Keith Newman, VP Partnerships, Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center - keith.newman@thecenter.nasdaq.org

The most valuable reason to attend this conference in the opportunity got in-person meetings and connecting with contacts old and new. I was delighted to catch up with a few Canadians!

3) Observations from Dr. Samuel White, previously with The Centre for Drug Research and Development based in Vancouver, Canada. Now with MorphoSys in Europe.

“Great to return to JPM, this time as a member of MorphoSys’s BD & Portfolio Management team. Having previously spent almost six years in Canada working at CDRD I built up a large network of Canadian friends and colleagues . Still I was surprised that every time I hit the street to walk to another meeting or attended an evening reception, I bumped into another Canadian! Fantastic to see such a strong Canadian presence and this hopefully signals that the Canadian Life Science economy is going from strength to strength!”

Dr. Samuel White, Associate Director, BD & Portfolio Management

Sam also had a funny encounter, when he ran into this sign during the conference!

4) FemTech Collective Mixer

Another event I registered for was the Mixer organized by the FemTech Collective.

FemTech Collective is the premiere network connecting innovators in the female focused health technology space through unique and impactful events, media, and an online platform. They are a growing collective of over 200 FemTech startups, established companies, investors, and industry professionals coming together to catalyze innovative female focused health technology in the San Francisco Bay Area and globally.

“I was advised that I needed to do something alongside J.P. Morgan. In my opinion, this is a very exclusive event as it is invite-only, but there are great opportunities to connect at periphery events, especially with investors if you’re a start up! Our FemTech Mixer 
benefitted from J.P. Morgan as there were a lot of people in town already. We capitalized on hosting the event at 4:00 pm as people were wrapping up their days, and before they needed to attend evening events. We were pleased to partner with Jessie Health and within 4 days had over 120 RSVPS! We were happy at the huge interest and opportunity to build community at a larger scale and raise awareness for FemTech and the FemTech Collective”

Nicole Dahlstrom, Founder
FemTech Collective

5) Spontaneous Meetings, including mine with Accel-Rx Executive Team

I got to meet with many of the people I’ve quoted above, and I wondered to myself, would I run into anyone serendipitously at J.P. Morgan?

Well sure enough, if you walk around the City Centre during this conference, it is guaranteed you will bump into folks from J.P. Morgan, and very likely, people you want to meet! In my case, I ran into two members of the Accel-Rx Leadership Team from Vancouver, Natalie Dakers and Michael Lincoln.

Accel-Rx was created to bridge that gap and is the only organization with a national perspective addressing these specific growth challenges.

From their website: We're here to ensure the health sciences ecosystem in Canada thrives today and flourishes into the future. As Canada’s health innovation accelerator, we give health science start-ups the support they need to transcend innovations into commercialization. This means we enable companies to grow, mature and become investor-ready.

Wonderful to connect with these two!

(L to R: Natalie Dakers - Founding President and Chief Executive Officer, Po On Yeung - CELS Director of Marketing, Michael Lincoln - Chief Financial and Business Officer)

There were many other events that took place and several companies create and curate their own list.

For example: Novateur JP Morgan Networking Event Guide

Bookmark this page as you plan for a presence at the next years J.P. Morgan!

In the meantime, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and events!

Our next CELS event will coincide with Dose of the Valley

CELS Feb. Meet Up
A special edition hosting Dose of the Valley participants. An opportunity to meet local CELS members
Feb 12th @ WSGR.
Tuesday, February 12 at 5:00 PM

WSGR, One Market Plaza, 1 Market St #3300, San Francisco

CELS will sponsor the event and invite CELS members to meet DoV participants.

Were you at J.P. Morgan and have a story to share? Or are you planning to be in the Bay Area and want more details on getting involved?

Email one of us to be part of the conversation!

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