VC-backed biotechs will get shot at $1M-plus SBIR awards

For the past 8 years, the prohibition against giving companies majority-owned by venture groups access to the government's Small Business Innovation Research awards has been one of the most painful thorns in the side of the biotech industry. But after intense lobbying on the part of BIO and venture groups, lawmakers are about to have it legislatively removed. Legislators negotiating on behalf of the House and Senate have hammered out a new agreement to amend the program, opening its SBIR doors once again to the VC-backed companies.

Now the NIH and the National Science Foundation can reserve up to 25% of their SBIR funds for the VC-backed biotechs, a common sight in an industry that relies heavily on venture groups to fund early- and midstage development work. Biotechs can get SBIR awards of up to $150,000 in Phase I, up from $100,000, and a million dollars-plus for Phase II programs.

BIO chief Jim Greenwood cheered the announcement, highlighting a few key players who helped provide the bipartisan support needed to make it all happen.

"In particular, BIO applauds House and Senate leadership, including Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) for their efforts in moving this measure forward," said Greenwood.

- check out the release from BIO
- here's the story from Portfolio