NEW YORK (
) -- Over the past few weeks, I've reviewed my
best and worst stock calls of 2012
and discussed what the
healthcare sector may deliver in 2013
. This week, let's quickly preview the upcoming J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, which will be held in San Francisco next week. After that, I have a surprise announcement to make.
I've been attending the J.P. Morgan conference more or less annually for well over a decade -- long enough to remember when the boutique investment bank Hambrecht & Quist (H&Q) ran the show before being gobbled up by JPM in 1999. Although unquestionably chaotic, the J.P. Morgan confab offers a great opportunity to survey the healthcare landscape at the start of a fresh year and learn about new companies that could become great investments.
(CELG - Get Report)
is the obvious place to start on the morning of Monday, Jan. 7. Last year, management issued financial guidance at the conference and will likely do so again. I will also be watching the company's body language on Abraxane closely for any hints about detailed results from a phase III trial in pancreatic cancer to be presented at a medical meeting later in January. [I wrote a previous <a href="http://www.thestreet.com/story/11736241/1/making-the-call-celgenes-abraxane-will-work-in-pancreatic-cancer.html">column about Abraxane</a>.]
Other upcoming events for Celgene include the mid-February FDA drug approval decision date for pomalidomide in late-stage multiple myeloma (I expect approval); and top-line results from the so-called "MM-020" study in first-line multiple myeloma comparing Revlimid and low-dose dexamethasone against the combination of Thalomid, melphalan, and prednisone. The control arm regimen makes this study a tough challenge.
Also on Monday, I'm curious to see
, a recent IPO that promises to deliver us all from unsightly underchin fat; and
, which seems to be steadily increasing the availability of the weight loss pill Qsymia but is still dogged with concerns about a slow launch.
might uses its presentation slot on Monday to announce top-line results from a pivotal study of dexpramipexole in the muscle-wasting disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS.). I have no view on the likelihood of success, although I would caution that ALS is an extremely difficult disease.
(GILD - Get Report)
presents Monday afternoon but probably won't say much because management usually reserves financial guidance for quarterly conference calls.
is worth a look too, even though it's not biotech. The company's transcatheter valve replacement technology faces a host of challenges over the next few years and the outcome remains uncertain. Those dynamics usually make for good investment opportunities.