San Diego’s Small Cap Stocks Arrive in Force at Roth Capital’s Largest Investor Conference

Xconomy San Diego — 

Call it optimism or a sense of relief, but the atmosphere surrounding Roth Capital’s 22nd annual growth stock conference feels more upbeat and expansive. The invitation-only institutional investor conference begins today at the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point, CA, with a 7 a.m. breakfast panel on investing in China, and runs through mid-afternoon Wednesday.

Attendee numbers are certainly up, and organizers say this will be the largest Roth conference ever. That could reflect the fact that there are fewer investment banks to host conferences nowadays than there were a couple of years ago. About 2,500 investors and analysts are expected to attend this week, which is almost 39 percent more than the 1,800 in attendance last year. There also are more public companies making presentations, which could simply reflect an improvement in corporate optimism. Organizers tell me a total of 370 companies are making presentations this week, which is close to 70 percent more than the 218 firms that trudged to Dana Point to show their stuff amid the gloom of last year’s economic downturn. That includes 21 from San Diego (see list below).

“Last year was definitely an uncertain time,” says Roth Capital analyst Matt Dolan, who follows medical device and diagnostic companies. “A lot of topics were about stability, and trying to find shelter from the downturn.” Information about the conference is here and a detailed schedule of presentations is here. Highlights of this year’s conference include:

—A large healthcare track, with executives from more than 100 companies showcasing their products and services in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and diagnostics, and healthcare services. The conference also has organized two expert panels: one is focused on reimbursement in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector; the other addresses leading companies and pioneering treatments in the race to develop new anti-viral drug therapies.

—A track nearly as large features 90 companies based in China (but with stock that trades on U.S. markets). This morning’s China panel includes a discussion of case studies and lessons learned, conducting effective due diligence, assessment of company accounting capabilities, legal considerations, and other topics.

—Roth also has organized a cleantech investing panel on the changing landscape in power production and distribution that includes a discussion of electric grid modernization and the influence of federal stimulus funds, demand-side management, and the role natural gas is expected to play in future power generation.

All told, 21 San Diego companies also are scheduled to make presentations:

Alphatec Holdings     (NASDAQ: ATEC)

Genoptix                     (NASDAQ: GXDX)

Overland Storage       (NASDAQ: OVRL)

Qualcomm                   (NASDAQ: QCOM)

Cytori Therapeutics     (NASDAQ: CYTX)

DexCom                        (NASDAQ: DXCM)

NuVasive                       (NASDAQ: NUVA)

Volcano                           (NASDAQ: VOLC)

Cypress Bioscience       (NASDAQ: CYPB)

NexMed                          (NASDAQ: NEXM)

Santarus                          (NASDAQ: SNTS)

DivX                                 (NASDAQ: DIVX)

Maxwell Technologies   (NASDAQ: MXWL)

Anadys Pharmaceutical  (NASDAQ: ANDS)

Ardea Biosciences           (NASDAQ: RDEA)

Inovio Biomedical               (NASDAQ: INO)

Neurocrine Biosciences    (NASDAQ: NBIX)

Vical Inc.                              (NASDAQ: VICL)

Sequenom                           (NASDAQ: SQNM)

Halozyme Therapeutics    (NASDAQ: HALO)

Lifevantage                          (NASDAQ: LFVN)

Senomyx                             (NASDAQ: SNMX)