Weekly Policy Update: SBIR/STTR Critical to Life Sciences – Support Our Work on Reauthorization
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 07/22/2022
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs are vital for our life sciences community. They provide early non-dilutive funding to advance high-risk, early-stage innovative research. Without action by Congress, the programs will expire on September 30, 2022. We need your help to emphasize the importance of these programs and support the advocacy work by CBSA and our national partners, including BIO, AdvaMed, PhRMA, and MDMA (Medical Device Manufacturers Association). Please act today by sending a message to our members of Congress.
Together with our partners, CBSA continues to stress the importance of SBIR and STTR to our Colorado Congressional delegation. We highlight the positive impact the programs make, funding life-saving breakthroughs for patients, supporting small businesses, and creating jobs. CBSA will continue to be loud on this topic through the reauthorization period and until Congress acts. Your support will make a difference.
CBSA represents more than 720 life sciences organizations across Colorado that drive innovations, products, and services to improve and save lives. Our state is the center of life sciences for the Rocky Mountain Region, directly employing over 32,000 people and spinning out an average of 20 new life sciences companies each year.
The SBIR and STTR programs have had a significant impact on Colorado’s life sciences growth. Our state has received more than 6,035 awards totaling more than $2.76 billion dollars since program inception. In all, the SBIR and STTR programs provided more than 179,000 awards totaling more than $54.3 billion to U.S. small businesses since 1982. A study by the National Academy of Sciences found a commercialization rate of 50-60% for SBIR/STTR investments.
The Colorado life sciences community is largely comprised of small, early-stage companies that play a crucial role in the development of breakthrough technologies and therapies that are leading to improved patient outcomes and reduced health care costs. A major priority for CBSA is supporting our ecosystem’s need for increased access to capital. We work closely with public and private partners to accelerate investment in life sciences companies. Public sources like the SBIR and STTR programs are critically important. As the high cost of conducting biomedical research continues to grow, this “first money” becomes increasingly important for attracting additional capital and private investors.
Where Reauthorization Stands Today
As of today (July 22, 2022), the SBIR/STTR extension was primarily negotiated by the committees of Small Business and Science & Technology committees in both the House and Senate. The legislation remains in the conference committee. We are hearing there are roadblocks from policymakers who continue to raise objections on the SBIR/STTR programs and there is the potential the conference committee avenue faces another roadblock and advocates must push for another vehicle forward.
Time is running short with the upcoming Congressional August recess. We continue to watch and work with partners discussions take place and moves through the House and Senate. We need Congress to act now and find a way to get these programs reauthorized. Advocates of the programs continue to explore all avenues for a path forward including a stand-alone extension or an extension to an annual defense authorization bill.
CBSA will continue to work with national partners to secure the renewal and communicate their importance to health innovators, and ultimately, patients. This advocacy work represents our commitment to Capital + Growth opportunities for our ecosystem. Through our Capital + Growth efforts, we work closely with public and private partners to accelerate investment in life sciences companies at all stages of commercialization.