Biotech is celebrating a platinum anniversary next week: 20 years since J.P. Morgan took over the industry’s biggest conference, an annual ritual of brokered mergers, broken promises, and breakthrough science.

The J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference is more than a venue for deals. It’s a place where fierce arguments break out, where industry memes get made, and where biotech examines its warts and wrinkles.

With that in mind, STAT decided to look back at the record. What emerged was not just a series of recollections about a conference, but the history of an industry, chock-full of lessons about management, leadership, and communication. Over the past two decades, many of the biggest heroes and villains in the pharmaceutical industry have graced the stages of the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, where the conference has been held since it began 38 years ago under the auspices of Hambrecht & Quist, a now largely forgotten investment bank….

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