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Did Storms Steal JPM's Thunder?

Image courtesy of Justin Sullivan/Getty Images San Francisco firefighters prepare to remove a large tree branch that fell onto a parked car due to high winds on January 10, 2023 in San Francisco, CA.
After a two-year hiatus, the JPM Healthcare Conference returned to downtown San Francisco, CA this week as intense rainstorms swept through the area.

For the first time since January 2020, thousands of power suit-wearing people descended on downtown San Francisco, CA this week for the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference (JPM). And if you were among them, chances are you got a little wet.

“JPM is interesting because you have all of these different hotels that are nearby and when it's raining like this you get absolutely soaked," Viz.ai CEO Chris Mansi, MD, told MD+DI over Zoom on Wednesday. "So, Jieun [Choe, the company's chief marketing officer] and I have been running between meetings and getting very wet.”

A parade of storms has swept through Northern California since late December, bringing heavy rainfall and high winds. Many parts of the San Francisco Bay Area have experienced flooding and power outages as fallen trees and downed power lines have been a concern. Just off Union Square, where the bulk of JPM takes place, a tree fell on a Muni bus during a storm that passed through the area Tuesday.

Image courtesy of Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSan Francisco Department of Public Works workers clean up a tree that fell on a Muni bus after a storm passed through the area on Jan. 10, 2023, as the JPM Healthcare Conference took place nearby.

"It is wet. And I can tell you it seems that there are floods everywhere, it's raining now ...," X-trodes CEO Ziv Peremen told MD+DI on Wednesday over Zoom. "I really hope my wife doesn't see this news ... I have a flight tonight."

Peremen, who lives in Israel, traveled to the United States this month for both CES 2023 last week in Las Vegas, CA and JPM in San Francisco this week.

"There were all kind of cancellations all over, there are people that couldn't make it or you have all kinds of challenges to the schedule," Peremen said.

Still, the rainy weather failed to dampen the energy and enthusiasm of JPM for Peremen, who attended the event for the first time this year. This was also the first time the event was held in person since 2020, as Covid-19 forced the event to go virtual in 2021 and 2022.

"It's amazing here," he said. "Plenty of people, a lot of social events. We do feel the need for all the face-to-face interaction. We feel a very energetic involvement here with a lot of enthusiasm from all the participants."

The sentiment could be seen all across social media as attendees posted selfies and group photos using #JPM2023.

"The hot topic at [JPM] has been the terrible, rainy weather – which in some ways, captures the tenor of industry activity in 2022," Arda Ural, Americas industry markets leader for life sciences and healthcare at Ernst & Young (EY), wrote in a LinkedIn post Wednesday. "But despite clouds on the metaphorical horizon (potential recession, inflationary pressures, steep bear market), there are sunny skies ahead. ... Net-net from San Francisco: this should be a strong year of growth, innovation, and dealmaking across the sector).

MD+DI caught up with several medtech CEOs attending JPM this week, and additional takeaways and company updates will be included in an upcoming article.

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