BIO to Ask Congress to Restore SBIR Grant Eligibility for Small Biotech Companies </a>

Senate Committee to Hold Roundtable on SBIR Grants Tomorrow

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 17, 2007) -- At a Congressional roundtable to be held tomorrow, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) will ask Congress to restore eligibility for many small biotech companies to enable them to compete for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants.  The roundtable will be held by the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship to prepare for the upcoming reauthorization of the SBIR program, a key federal program designed to support small business innovation.


Because of a rule change in 2003, small majority venture-backed biotech companies are ineligible to compete for SBIR grants.  BIO has asked Congress to restore eligibility to these small biotech companies so they will able to again compete for SBIR grants.


“By excluding these biotech companies from the SBIR program, a less competitive system is preventing the best science and innovation from being funded.  Meanwhile, some companies have taken advantage of the system by receiving hundreds of awards,” said Alan Eisenberg, BIO Executive Vice President for Emerging Companies and Business Development.  “Without SBIR grants, companies have been forced to postpone, sometimes indefinitely, promising new therapies.  This is not in the best interest of patients.” 


Eisenberg will be joined at the roundtable by executives from two small biotech companies who also will testify for the need for reform of eligibility standards.  Douglas Doerfler, President and CEO of MaxCyte, Incorporated, and Dr. Gary McGarrity, Executive Vice President of Scientific and Clinical Affairs at VIRxSYS Corporation, will address how the current eligibility requirements have prohibited further research into promising new therapies for diseases such as cystic fibrosis.


WHO:         Alan F. Eisenberg

Executive Vice President for Emerging Companies and Business




Douglas A. Doerfler

President and CEO

MaxCyte, Incorporated


Dr. Gary J. McGarrity

Executive Vice President of Scientific and Clinical Affairs

VIRxSYS Corporation


WHAT:      Roundtable Discussion

          Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship

“Reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research

Program:  How to Address the Valley of Death, the Role of

Venture Capital, and Data Rights.”


WHEN:      Thursday, October 18, 2007

          10 a.m.


WHERE:    Russell Senate Office Building

          Room 428A

          Washington, DC


About BIO

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.  BIO also produces the annual BIO International Convention, the global event for biotechnology.


Upcoming BIO Events


·         Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy
November 14-16

Honolulu, Hawaii


·      BIO CEO & Investor Conference
   February 11-13, 2008

New York, NY


·         BIO International Convention
June 17–20, 2008

San Diego, CA