Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, last week signed on as co-sponsor of a bill that would restore the eligibility of certain small biotech firms to receive grants from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Other co-sponsors include Senators Kitt Bond (R-MO) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA).
The bill would reverse a 2000 decision by the SBA’s general counsel, which argued that biotech companies with VC backing are “controlled by big business,” and therefore ineligible for SBIR grants.
SBIR grants are a primary investment capital source for the biotech industry.
“Adoption of this bill is essential to ensure that venture capital continues to flow to the biotech industry,” Snowe said.