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UBS Warburg Hosts Global Life Science Conference
The UBS Warburg Global Life Sciences Conference begins today at The Plaza Hotel in New York City and runs through Thursday, October 10, 2002. More than 3,000 portfolio managers, financial analysts and investors are scheduled to attend. The conference will offer investors a diverse exposure to the life sciences industry. Of the 420 presenting companies, there will be 203 companies from the biotechnology sector, 92 from the medical technology sector, 65 research tool companies, 31 pharmaceutical outsourcing firms, 25 companies from the clinical diagnostics sector, as well as four of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies.
The conference will be a global exhibition of the life sciences industry, with approximately 80 companies presenting from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, Iceland, Israel, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.
In the current low-growth and uncertain economic environment, UBS Warburg believes that health care in general, and biotechnology in particular, represents an attractive high-growth sector for investors. Because biotechnology drugs generally treat serious, life-threatening, and unmet medical needs, the revenues and earnings of profitable companies are generally insensitive to changes in the macroeconomic environment. Recent weakness in the biotechnology sector has resulted in very attractive valuations and good buying opportunities. Although biotechnology stocks represent relatively volatile and high-risk opportunities, we believe that the sector is poised for a rally in the next 12-18 months.
We believe this is an excellent time for investors to be focused on the medical device industry. Principal submarkets of the medical device industry include cardiac rhythm management, interventional cardiology, cardiac surgery, and orthopedics. New products and stronger pricing are combining to produce some of the most impressive sales increases in years. Two new product areas are likely to become billion dollar plus markets -- heart failure devices and drug-coated stents. At this year's Global Life Sciences Conference, Medtronic will discuss its heart failure devices (InSync and InSync ICD) as well as other recently launched products. Boston Scientific should provide an update on its drug-coated stent, which should be introduced into the US market late next year.
Drivers for the medical device industry, especially within the small and mid-cap sectors, have not changed;companies that can effect a paradigm shift because they have developed a procedure or product that treats a disease or achieves a clinical endpoint in a less invasive, cost-effective manner will be valued highly by investors. Therapeutic alternatives that are enjoying an upward trend in reimbursement will most certainly be coveted as well. On a broader scale, demographics remain favorable as the population continues to age. Given the current market environment and the likelihood that the stocks of economically sensitive companies should underperform because of downward revisions in financial guidance, we are recommending that investors target profitable companies with steadily growing revenue streams for their portfolios.
Approximately 10 contract research organizations (CRO's) are scheduled to present. Three major trends that have driven and should continue to drive investment in and sentiment toward the sector are (1) the sustained strong demand for pre-clinical services, (2) ongoing backlog or new business development and evidence of a start of a new drug product cycle, and 3) the potential, near-term effects of additional drug manufacturer consolidation.
Lack of new product flow within the pharmaceutical sector, coupled with large patent expirations and a cautious and vigilant FDA has revealed the weak underbelly that is the cyclical nature of drug development. These issues are compounded by the election year rhetoric, which amounts to some of the strongest political headwinds the industry has felt since the early 1990's.
The pressing issues in the diagnostics sector that we expect companies will be addressing at the conference are the competitive threat from hospital outreach programs and the consolidation of the group and how this will impact stable pricing and volume growth. In addition, UBS Warburg believes a pipeline of new tests and a neutral regulatory environment continue to benefit the service providers while the product manufacturers will continue to be at some disadvantage as the lab customers continue to consolidate and the deep-pocket in vitro diagnostics players make an entry into the area of molecular diagnostics.
Audio transmissions of company presentations will be available live and by replay. Replays will begin three hours after the actual presentation time and will be available on the site for a period of four weeks. To access audio transmissions and conference agenda please go to the www.ubswarburg.com home page.
UBS Warburg is a business group of UBS AG (NYSE: UBS), one of the largest financial services firms in the world with more than 70,000 employees in more than 40 countries. UBS Warburg is a leader in equities, corporate finance, M&A advisory and financing, financial structuring, fixed income issuance and trading, foreign exchange, derivatives and risk management. UBS Warburg is one of four business groups of UBS AG along with UBS PaineWebber, UBS Global Asset Management and UBS Wealth Management & Business Banking.
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