Okay, the real "Granddaddy of 'em all" was actually this past Tuesday at the Rose Bowl (I promise that's my last reference to the amazing USC Trojans unless they win a split national championship), but the granddaddy of healthcare investment conferences begins on Monday in San Francisco.
JPMorgan's 26th annual event will feature more than 300 presentations from private and public companies, nearly 5,000 one-on-one company/investor meetings and nearly 8,000 attendees.
It's the first and biggest healthcare conference of the year, the place to see and be seen for anyone who's anyone in healthcare investing. It runs through next Thursday, but we'll only be doing live reports and interviews from there on Monday.
We received dozens of pitches from PR people to put the CEO of their company or the companies they represent on CNBC Monday. This is one example where we have no problem finding people willing to be interviewed.
Although a couple of the "gets" I wanted didn't come through for a variety of reasons--the previously-documented Amgen,Genentech,Medicis and Allergan, just to name a few. We've tried to book a cross-section of CEOs, most of them with companies that have major events anticipated in the new year. So, as promised, here's our lineup:
"Squawk Box" (8 a.m. ET):Charles River Labs Chairman & CEO Jim Foster. CRL shares have had a huge run over the past year. Can it continue? Find out how the cutbacks at big pharma and a more safety-cautious FDA could be good for companies like Charles River.
"Squawk on the Street" (9:20 & 10:10 a.m. ET):Celgene Chmn. & CEO Sol Barer & MannKind Chmn. & CEO Alfred Mann. Celgene will be putting out new 2008 financial guidance early Monday morning. Mr. Mann is a billionaire who's putting his money where his mouth is with a gamble on inhalable diabetic insulin.
"The Call" (11:40 a.m. ET):Lilly COO & CEO-designate John Lechleiter. Our first interview with him since he was tapped to take over the major drug company which announced today that it has filed for FDA approval of a new bloodthinner. Will Mr. Lechleiter maintain the status quo or put a new strategy in place?
Because "Power Lunch" is on the road at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas we get a break for a couple of hours.
"Street Signs": We switch things up a bit with a live interview with a healthcare fund manager. Why do they come to this conference? Do they really get new investment ideas? Does it help them begin to figure out what to buy, sell or hold in the new year?
Update: (3 pm ET) Onyx Pharmaceuticals Chairman & CEO Hollings Renton. According to Forbes, ONXX was the best performing small-cap stock last year. Is there more growth ahead for the cancer drugmaker?
"Closing Bell" (3:40 & 4: 40 p.m. ET): Biogen-Idec Chmn. & CEO Jim Mullen. BIIB expects to win FDA approval very soon of its multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri for Crohn's disease. (Elanians, please no emails. BIIB is partnered with ELN on Tysabri.)
A spokesman for Biogen Idec informed me early Monday morning that they are having "plane issues" and therefore, have to cancel the 4:40 p.m. interview on the "Closing Bell."
"Fast Money" (5 p.m. ET): DaVita CEO Kent Thiry. Nearly every time I've been on FM, Karen Finerman pounds the table on her top healthcare pick, DVA, with a claim the company is "recession proof". Is it really? Or could the kidney dialysis center operator be victimized by all the trouble surrounding the anemia drugs used on dialysis patients.
Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com