Your JPM need-to-know: Regeneron's PCSK9 patent rant, Valeant's sell-offs and more

San Francisco is a hotbed of biopharma news this week as executives and dealmakers converge on the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

To the biopharma industry, J.P. Morgan's annual healthcare investor conference is like a bazaar of news, commentary and behind-the-scenes meetings that—who knows?—might yield M&A fruit later this year. It happened for Actavis, when former CEO Paul Bisaro chatted with then-Forest Laboratories chief Brent Saunders at the 2014 meeting. And that executive duo ended up acquiring Allergan in a $66 billion deal last year.

In that enormous marketplace of information at #JPM2017, here's a sampling of the news our reporters considered worth your attention.

Regeneron CEO Len Schleifer wasn’t shy about criticizing the recent PCSK9 patent ruling that threatens to push his company's drug, Praluent, off the market—or about holding rival drugmaker Amgen responsible. Schleifer said he was “surprised” Amgen feels “they have to take these products from patients and disrupt it right now.” And Schleifer's not the only one taking issue with the court's decision, or with Amgen's decision to play hardball. News

Price-hike poster child Valeant is using the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference to make a big statement about its arduous turnaround, which is largely focused on paying down its $30 billion debt burden. On Tuesday, the company announced a couple of long-awaited asset sales that will yield $2.1 billion in cash for paying down debt. Report

Last week, Teva had to slash more than $1 billion off the 2017 sales guidance it announced last July. On Monday at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, CEO Erez Vigodman explained exactly how the company arrived at the off-base forecast in the first place. Thing is, observers aren't so sure Teva can do better going forward. Story

And about potential U.S. tax reform: Drugmakers are speaking up about changes that could take place under U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. Amgen CEO Robert Bradway, for one, proclaimed on Monday that Amgen "will be a clear beneficiary of that change,” while Pfizer execs said they expect to benefit, too. But as J&J chief Alex Gorsky pointed out, for other companies, it may not be so black and white. Some pharmas might actually see their tax rates go up. Article

Everyone wanted to listen to Gilead Sciences at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco on Monday, but though the company talked up its HIV and NASH programs, it did not come up with what many investors most wanted to hear: a major deal. Story

Celgene faced big expectations heading into JPM, and though it disclosed street-beating 2016 earnings on Monday—and a growth forecast of 18% for 2017—shares were down on the news. CEO Mark Alles talked up its collaborations, and for those keeping track, execs said Celgene is on its way to hitting a 2020 revenue goal of $21 billion-plus. Article

After flying in semi-stealth mode for some time now, causing accusations of secrecy, mRNA biotech Moderna finally shone some light onto its pipeline and delivery technology. The company highlighted the five assets it currently has in the clinic; shared updates on its work with Merck and AstraZeneca; and outlined its focus on immuno-oncology, infectious diseases and cardiovascular disease. Story