Weekly Policy Update: Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs Update

A longstanding policy priority for CBSA is supporting our ecosystem’s need for increased access to capital. 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. Critical federal  funding sources include the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These programs are vital for our life sciences community, as they provide early non-dilutive funding to help advance high-risk, early-stage innovative research. As the cost of conducting biomedical research continues to grow, this “first money” becomes increasingly important for attracting additional capital and private investors. In 2019, Colorado companies and organizations received 258 SBIR awards and STTR awards totaling over $82 million dollars.

Both programs are housed within the Small Business Administration (SBA). They are renewed every five years by Congress. The programs are set to expire in September of this year without congressional action on renewal. Ongoing conversations in Congress, particularly among members of the Senate Small Business Committee, indicate outreach to members of Congress will be important to ensure that they fully understand the necessity and impact of these federal grants. In the coming months, CBSA and our national partners will be collaborating with members of Congress to secure the renewal of these programs.

CBSA Activity

Earlier this month, CBSA signed onto a letter led by BIO and AdvaMed which outlined that the SBIR/STTR programs are an essential part of America’s innovative high-tech ecosystem, and even the threat of a short-term disruption of these programs could have a severe effect on R&D-focused small businesses. Federal agencies could also see their research and technology development stalled by a disruption in these programs, which are already built into agency budgets. Both small businesses and the agencies need certainty, stability, and predictability to budget and plan—especially as the nation works to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the letter.

Status Update

The conferees to the USICA/COMPETES committee have been named and the SBIR/STTR extension will be primarily negotiated by the committees of Small Business and Science & Technology committees in both the House and Senate before final decisions are made by the Conference Committee. This work is expected to continue up to the July 4 recess.

Your Support Needed

Please send an email to Senator John Hickenlooper to urge renewal of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs. Senator Hickenlooper is the only member of the state congressional delegation to be included as a member of the conference committees. Without action, the programs will expire on September 30, 2022. Since their creation, SBIR & STTR have supported small businesses across Colorado that are developing health innovations. These programs support our life sciences community’s work to save and change lives around the world.  

Take the Action.

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