Every year in late May 30,000 oncology professionals from around the world gather in one place - the world's largest oncology conference - to discuss the latest groundbreaking cancer research.
You won’t ever see this much knowledge, experience and exposure of the most groundbreaking cancer research in the same place anywhere else in the world.
Biotech companies pay thousands of dollars just to get a small 10-foot by 10-foot space on the conference floor.
Larger biotech companies like Seattle Genetics (SGEN) pay even more to be top-tier sponsors of the entire event.
History has shown this is also the place where many of the leading biotech companies start to reveal the latest information about their drugs and their latest trial results.
So it’s the starting point for big runs in one of biotech’s most lucrative finds.
The Next Leg Up in Biotech Starts Here
In the current up and down market climate, investing in biotech stocks is looking more like a contrarian play than it has in years.
The recent volatility in the space has made many analysts and investors think back to the "dotcom bubble" days of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
For the last few years, there has been serious talk of a new biotech bubble bursting.
Each time they talked, biotech stocks roared back.
Look what happened last year. There was a correction in biotech stocks of about 20% between February and April of 2014. That was a buying opportunity because for the last 9 months of 2014, the biotech sector gained nearly 40%.
Now, after another multi-month breather for biotech stocks to start the calendar year, they could be set for another jump higher again.
They Call It "May Madness" For a Reason
Every March basketball fans and non-fans alike tune in to watch the NCAA Basketball tournament.
It's the spectacle to see if perennial college powers can live up to the pressure of being a favorite.
The tournament also gives an opportunity to the underdog to see if it can withstand the pressure under the lights of competing with the Big Boys.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference offers a similar stage for Big Pharma and smaller biotech firms in May and early June.
We get to see who's research pans out and takes the next leap forward in the approval process as well as those players who will go down like The Titanic.
The conference this year will take place in Chicago from May 29 - June 2.
However, on May 13, two weeks before the meeting, ASCO released about 5,000 datasets online. It's what they call their annual "abstract drop".
Consider it an appetizer for the industry before the actual conference serves the main course of key abstracts from some of the more highly anticipated sessions.
It's the opportunity for investors to validate rumors and ideas that may have caused a big buzz throughout the industry.
And cancer research will only become more essential in the future. According to an ASCO report issued in March 2014, new cancer cases will increase 42% by the year 2025. During this time, cancer will become the leading cause of death in the United States.
Remember, the most important caveat with biotechs is that "news drives prices".
The buzz in 2015 - as it was in 2014 and 2013 - is immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy has become a major focus in cancer treatments where companies are creating groundbreaking drugs that will manipulate the body's own immune cells to fight cancer.
Over the past year, there were two new immunotherapy drugs that have gained FDA approval:, Bristol-Myers Squibb's (NYSE:BMY) Opdivo and Merck's (NYSE:MRK) Keytruda.
Initially, these drugs were proven to be successful in battling melanoma. However, recent data - especially in the case of Opdivo - has shown positive responses against other types of tumors.
Opdivo became the first immunotherapy treatment to be approved for lung cancer in March. The drug allows immune cells to identify and attack cancer which may have been hiding in the body by latching on to certain proteins.
There has been some question as to how many patients this new treatment could benefit. Some research has shown that only patients with certain traits would respond positively to treatment.
However, this year's ASCO conference will present the results of a large late-stage trial where it is believed that Opdivo's benefit goes beyond those with specific molecular traits.
This could be a game-changer for extending people's lives suffering from what will be the number one killer of Americans in decades to come