Washington, DC (December 13, 2011) – The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today praises the House and Senate for reaching a deal on Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Reauthorization as an Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (HR 1540).
Yesterday, lawmakers announced that an agreement had been reached to reauthorize and amend the SBIR/Small Business TechnologyTransfer (STTR)program, which was set to expire on December 16th. House and Senate lawmakers agreed to amend and extend the program for another six years.
BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood made the following statement today:
"BIO is pleased that an agreement has been reached to amend and extend the SBIR program. SBIR provides muchneeded funding for the development of innovative medical therapies for debilitating diseases including cancer, diabetes and HIV.
"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.
"This measure allows companies that are majority-owned by multiple venture capital firms to compete for SBIR awards once again, which is critical for emerging biotechnology companies working on tomorrow’s breakthrough cures and treatments. Updating the SBIR program to address the current economic realities and capital formation challenges facing small, innovative American companies is necessary to ensure that these companies can once again compete for SBIR grants – based on the promise of their science rather than the structure of their capital.
"The importance of supporting continued advancements in science has never been more important as companies are struggling to recover from the economic crisis, and accelerate research, growth, and hiring. At the very earliest stages of development, alternate sources of financing, such as SBIR grants, have been instrumental in furthering research and development in biotechnology.
"BIO applauds the Congress on this important and timely agreement, and hopesthat the Congress now moves this legislation forward as expeditiously as possible to help fulfill federal research and development goals of bringing cures and breakthrough medicines to the public."
The role of the SBIR program in bringing breakthrough therapies to the American people is a matter of record.
There are 252 FDA-approved biologics that have been developed by 163 companies. Thirty-two percent of those companies have received at least one SBIR/STTR award.
In recent months, at least 25 U.S. public biotech companies have either placed drug development programs on hold or cut programs all together. These programs include promising therapies for HIV, cervical cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, and diabetes.
For additional data and analysis on the U.S. biotechnology industry, please visitwww.bio.org.