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BIO Collaborates with NIH and NSF on Growing “Innovation Zone” at BIO 2016 International Convention

April 29, 2016

Washington, D.C. (April 29, 2016) – The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced an agreement to feature Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)-funded early-stage biomedical companies in an expanded Innovation Zone at the 2016 BIO International Convention. The Innovation Zone companies, focused on drug discovery, diagnostics and other therapeutic platform technologies, will have dedicated exhibit space and participate in BIO’s One-on-One Partnering™. Select companies will make 15-minute company presentations in the BIO Business Forum.

“Our ‘Innovation Zone’ partnership with NSF and NIH originated in 2014 with 35 companies; it grew to 75 companies in 2015 and this year we will have 100. It continues to be a huge draw to the exhibit floor and we couldn’t be happier about showcasing emerging biotech in this setting,” said BIO’s President and CEO, Jim Greenwood. “As SBIR recipients, the Innovation Zone companies have demonstrated strong potential for commercializing innovative and transformational technology that could change the medical health landscape.” 

The SBIR program provides U.S. federal funding to small businesses engaged in research and development with the potential for commercialization. Companies are rigorously vetted through the NIH and NSF SBIR review process prior to receiving the funding. 

“NIH strongly believes in supporting innovative life science technology development through the SBIR program. The BIO International Convention is an ideal place to highlight our companies. The SBIR companies showcased in this year's Innovation Zone highlight some of the most promising technologies in our portfolio that we hope will achieve commercial success and significantly advance and improve human health. In order to achieve this goal, these companies require critical partnerships and capital. I encourage attendees to meet with our companies and explore the featured exhibitors and presentations," said Dr. Matthew Portnoy, NIH SBIR/STTR program coordinator.

“The technology behind some of today’s greatest biomedical innovations have come from inventive small companies,” said Jesus Soriano, MD, PhD, MBA, a program director for NSF's SBIR/STTR program. “World-class tradeshows like the BIO Convention offer federally supported tech pioneers working in American small businesses-- who have big ideas, but limited resources -- the opportunity to showcase their emerging technologies and disruptive new products. This year, NSF-funded companies and several academic laboratories with prototypes will be available to talk about their high-risk, high-reward projects, which will span a wide range of topics from new therapeutic platforms to diagnostic methods. ”

The majority of participating companies in the BIO Innovation Zone have received SBIR Phase II grants, which provide up to $1 million dollars or more in funding to engage in R&D that has the potential for commercialization.

Advance media registration is available for qualified reporters working full time for print, broadcast and web publications with valid press credentials. To register, please visit here.

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.

About the National Institutes of Health Small Business Programs

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs ( are one of the largest sources of early-stage capital for biomedical technology commercialization in the United States. In Fiscal Year 2016, these programs will invest over 870 million dollars into health and life science companies that are creating innovative technologies, including medical devices, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and health IT. 

About the National Science Foundation's Small Business Programs

At the National Science Foundation (NSF), Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) is an approximately $160 million program that catalyzes the commercialization of high-risk technological innovations via research and development grants to small businesses and startups. NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $7 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.


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