Biotech Leader Provides Testimony at Congressional Hearing on SBIR/STTR Renewal
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Thursday, April 07, 2011) - Today, the House Subcommittee on Healthcare and Technology will hold a hearing on The Creating Jobs Through Small Business Innovation Act of 2011, a bill that would reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which help fund small innovative companies on the brink of new technologies and discoveries.
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and its members have been advocates for the reauthorization of SBIR and STTR, which are critical sources of funding for small bioscience companies in the early development stage of medical research.
The Senate is currently considering similar legislation - the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S.493), which would restore the eligibility of small biotechnology companies that receive the majority of their funding from venture capital to compete for SBIR and STTR grants.
The Senate legislation would extend SBIR and STTR funding until 2019 and allow majority venture capital backed bioscience companies to compete for up to 25% of the SBIR and STTR grants under a three-phase competitive structure.
"We are pleased that the House reauthorization bill allows majority venture capital backed companies to compete for SBIR and STTR funds," said Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of BIO. "Such programs would help level the playing field for all small biotechnology firms so that they can continue working on bringing innovative medical technologies and treatments to market."
Drug development can take up to $1 billion and 10 years and at the very earliest stages, multiple sources of financing including SBIR and STTR grants have been instrumental in advancing research and development in biotechnology. Currently 32% of all FDA approved biologic therapies were developed by companies that have received at least one SBIR or STTR grant. Reinstatement of eligibility for our small biotechnology companies in this reauthorization would help fund new treatments for Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, and cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Scott Koenig, president and CEO of MacroGenics in Rockville, Maryland will provide testimony to the Subcommittee during today's hearing regarding the proposed bill's impact on his company.
"Biotechnology is a capital-intensive industry and securing funding has never been more important or more challenging," said Dr. Koenig. "To be allowed to compete for a portion of SBIR and STTR grants would give us the opportunity to pursue new product candidates and classes of novel biologics for the treatment of autoimmune disorders, cancer and infectious diseases."
Many U.S. public biotech companies are forced to place drug development programs on hold or cut programs all together due to lack of capital. These programs include promising therapies for HIV, cervical cancer, and diabetes. Once again allowing small, majority venture capital-backed biotechnology companies to compete for SBIR and STTR grants would increase the number of new medical discoveries and innovations.
"We hope the Subcommittee on Healthcare and Technology will support the priorities of small innovative bioscience companies, and encourage Members of Congress to expand eligibility for these programs," said Greenwood. "The seed money secured today from these programs has the potential to yield the cutting-edge, life-saving therapies of tomorrow."
For the latest updates on SBIR/STTR, visit www.bio.org.
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About MacroGenics, Inc.
MacroGenics is a private, venture-backed biotechnology company that focuses on the discovery, development and delivery to patients of novel biologics for autoimmune disorders, cancer and infectious diseases. The company has built a fully-integrated set of capabilities in antibody-based product development which supports its innovative pipeline of clinical stage product candidates. MacroGenics' proprietary research is based on three core technology platforms, which include: (1) a method for generating cancer stem-like cells; (2) Dual-Affinity Re-Targeting (or DART(tm)) technology, which allows the company to incorporate multiple specificities within a single recombinant molecule; and (3) Fc optimization, which enhances antibody-dependent effector functions. The company has global product development collaborations with Boehringer Ingelheim, and Pfizer Inc. For more information about MacroGenics, please visit www.macrogenics.com.