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SAN FRANCISCO — It’s hard to remember amid all the cocktail parties, panel sessions, networking meetings, and general glad-handing, but there’s an actual health care investor conference at the heart of the biotech industry’s gathering here each January.

Thousands of people flock to the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference but never actually step inside the conference’s home base at the Westin St. Francis Hotel on the western side of Union Square. They’re off doing other biotechy things. But about 9,000 people — executives from 450 biotech and drug companies plus investors and ne’er-do-wells like, ahem, journalists — do actually attend the conference.

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