Apart from the usual commentary about overcrowded venues with shoulder to shoulder hallways and presentation rooms, for the first time, there was a discussion on changing how we all refer to the JPMorgan conference. This is because the week now is no longer just a date for the eponymous investment banking conference. There are now several industry conferences occurring at the same time, Biotech Showcase run by EBD Group probably being the largest. Many people don’t even venture to any of the conference. Instead they are holed up in hotel rooms hosting meeting after meeting with the investment community, potential partners and media.
The mood in San Francisco did seem a little subdued, despite the megamerger Shire/Baxalta news at the start of the week. The markets opened at their lowest since 2001 on Monday only to retreat further by Wednesday. The lack of additional significant news only added to the downcast sentiment.