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BIO Opposes Ironic Limit on VC Backing for SBIR Grantees

NEW YORK, June 17 (GenomeWeb News) - Representatives from the Biotechnology Industry Organization are calling for the Small Business Administration to revise its current interpretation of eligibility standards for Small Business Innovation Research grants.


Late last year, SBA revised its guidelines to refuse eligibility to small companies that are 51-percent owned by venture capital firms.


Jim Greenwood, president of BIO, issued a statement today calling for the SBA to "correct" this "misinterpretion" of eligibility standards.


"Most small and emerging biotechnology companies, which are years away from revenue-generating products, must look to the venture capital community for investments to fund the very high-cost preclinical and clinical research," Greenwood said. "Prior to the new interpretation, these companies used SBIR grants to validate the potential of their research as they raised critical start-up investment funds."


Greenwood added, "It is ironic that the SBA's rulings are actually squelching the very research that the [SBIR] law sought to stimulate when it was initially passed."


Morrie Ruffin, vice president of business development for BIO, is scheduled to testify on behalf of the organization at a hearing SBA is holding on the SBIR eligibility issue later today.  

Greenwood supported legislation introduced in the House by Sam Graves (R-MO) and in the Senate by Kit Bond (R-MO) to revisit the eligibility requirements. "We urge members of Congress to support this new legislation," Greenwood said.

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