Bill offers small developers shot at R&D funds

Biotech companies majority-owned by venture groups would once again have a shot at some $2 billion in Small Business Innovation Research awards under compromise legislation advanced in the U.S. Senate. The bill limits the number of R&D contracts the VC-controlled firms would be eligible for. The full Senate will vote next month, with an approval sending the legislation on to the House.

Passage of a law would mark a victory for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, which has been lobbying lawmakers for five years to remove the restriction from law. Under the law, federal agencies with large outside R&D budgets are required to set aside 2.5 percent of the money for small firms. But in 2003 the SBA determined that a small firm in which venture capitalists owned more than 50 percent of the company no longer qualified for the money.

- read the report from the East Bay Business Journal