With the much-hyped JP Morgan Healthcare Conference kicking off later today in San Francisco, the UK life sciences community is flocking over the Atlantic to “raise the Union flag in Union Square”.

The BioIndustry Association and dozens of UK-based biotech companies will be attending the plethora of investors meetings being held in and around the JP Morgan conference. The BIA says that 2014 saw the best year for UK domestic healthcare and life science IPOs in a decade, boosted by the £211 million raised by Circassia.

The association’s chief executive Steve Bates said that “2015 looks to be set for more of the same. This coming week is an important global shop window for our world-leading companies at all stages of development”.

The BIA noted that the Biotech Showcase event will feature 59 UK companies (6% of the global total), while at the JP Morgan conference itself will see presentations from the likes of Circassia, Oxford Immunotec, Vectura and BTG, as well as drug giants AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline.

The association highlighted “key networking opportunities” which include the UKTI and Scottish Development International reception tonight hosted by life sciences minister George Freeman. An AstraZeneca/MedImmune reception at The Old Mint, co-hosted by BIA, is on January 14; last year, it attracted “over 600 global investment leaders in the life science sector”.

Mr Freeman said the UK is “leading the way in the emergence of a new 21st century life sciences sector harnessing breakthroughs in genomics, informatics and precision medicine”. He added that “I want US businesses to see the great investment and collaborative opportunities there are in the UK where our uniquely integrated NHS health system, world class clinical and academic science base and vibrant pharma and venture finance sector make the UK a global life science powerhouse”.