281 Biotech CEOs Seek SBA Fix to Continue their Medical Research

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 26, 2005) – To demonstrate its support of H.R.2943 and S.1263, the “Save America’s Biotechnology Innovative Research (SABIR) Act,” the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today submitted a letter to Congress endorsed by 281 biotechnology CEOs and senior executives who are asking that this legislation be passed.

The legislation, introduced in the House by Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and in the Senate by Kit Bond (R-Mo.), corrects the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) new interpretation of eligibility standards related to Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants.

The Rural Enterprises, Agriculture and Technology Subcommittee of the House Small Business Committee is holding a hearing on the issue at 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 27 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Douglas A. Doerfler, president and CEO of MaxCyte Inc., of Gaithersburg , Md., will testify on behalf of BIO.

The SBA’s action has forced many biotechnology companies to stop or curtail research into therapies for many diseases, including HIV, lupus, diabetes, leukemia, Alzheimer’s and West Nile virus.

Presently, companies that are 51 percent owned by a group of venture capital firms are not eligible for SBIR grants. Most small and emerging biotechnology companies, which are years away from owning revenue-generating drugs or biologics, must look to the venture capital community for investments to fund the very high-cost preclinical and clinical research.

“Prior to the SBA’s new interpretation, many small biotechnology companies relied on SBIR grants to validate the potential of their research as they raised critical start-up investment funds,” said Jim Greenwood, BIO’s president. “In submitting this letter, endorsed by 281 CEOs – many of whom run companies that have been impacted by the new interpretation – we urge Congress to support this new legislation and re-start the flow of funds to innovative biotechnology companies.”

Doerfler and Morrie Ruffin, BIO’s executive vice president of capital formation and business development, discuss the impact of SBIRs on the biotechnology industry during a BioLive Webcast for BIO members. An excerpt can be viewed at http://members.bio.org/biovideos/biolive_0705s.asx.

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.

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About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.