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Health Advocacy and Medical Specialty Groups Lobby Congress to Change Rules on SBIR Eligibility

Written by on Thursday, October 18th, 2007 Print This Post Print This Post

Health Advocacy and Medical Specialty Groups Submitted a letter to Congress today arguing for Congress to rethink its position on SBIR eligibility in its upcoming consideration of the reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research ("SBIR") program.

As we previously reported in Congress to Consider SBIR Funding Increase , the SBIR program is set to expire in 2008, and Congress is currently considering legislation that would increase the amount that federal agencies with large research and development budgets would have to set aside for SBIR funding. 

The letter sent to Congress today articulated the position of biotech companies that the SBIR eligibility rules should be amended to reinstate funding for majority venture capital-backed companies:

After twenty years of participating in the program, the Small Business Administration (SBA) ruled in 2003 that small companies that are majority venture capital-backed could no longer apply for grants regardless of how few employees the companies have.  Because of the unique capital needs of biotechnology companies, most are now ineligible to be compete for grants.  As a result of the reinterpretation, the SBIR applicant pool is shrinking at the National Institutes of Health ("NIH)," and work on live-saving and life-enhancing technology is being postponed. . . .

Small biotechnology companies take basic scientific discoveries,  many of which originate from universities, and conduct further research and development to turn discoveries into commerically available treatments and cures. This collaborative relationship is one of the ways universities and academic researchers serve the public by contributing to the development of new treatments and cures and supporting the local economy.  Small biotechnology companies require significant venture capital investment, and unfortunately the SBA reinterpretation of the eligibility rules has hampered the continued research and development into biotechnology products, thereby delaying the delivery of future treatments to patients.

Fifty-two organizations signed the letter to Congress, including the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkison’s Research, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

 

 

 

 

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