Congress may let SBIR authority lapse this week

SBIR/STTR/CPP EXPIRATION LOOMS (circulated by Rick Shindell, reposted by AlleleBlog)

The SBIR/STTR/CPP now appears likely to expire on Thursday night, September 30.
Some will deny it but here’s what’s happening.

Allegedly the Senate and House were close to a compromise complete with an 8 year
reauthorization of SBIR/STTR/CPP but each time it goes back to the House (Nydia &
Day), they change the VC language to masquerade 100% VC involvement as a compromise.

Because time is so short, the Senate passed a bill (S.3839) to simply extend
SBIR/STTR/CPP through January 31, 2010. The House was going to pass it on Wednesday
with the President signing Thursday. However, the word on the street is that Nydia
Velazquez, chair of the House Small Business Committee, and her illustrious second,
Michael Day, are rejecting the bill and are poised to let SBIR expire if necessary,
at least in the short term.

It seems that Velazquez’s hope is to move the SBIR reauthorization into the lame
duck session and incorporate all her Wall Street investors’ 100% non-compromise VC
ownership and jumbo award support into a must pass, end of the year omnibus bill
that can’t be touched by her detractors.

This sounds like a script for TV, but several years ago we had a similar year end
omnibus situation involving Nydia (as ranking member) and Sam Graves (subcommittee
chair) and BIO/NVCA, but the main difference was that the small business committee
chair was Donald Manzullo who nipped it in the bud. In our scenario today we have
to look to the House leadership to do it, but it will take your involvement.

Many senior people in the democratic party called for the House to support the
Senate compromise bill H.R. 2965, but Nydia ignored those calls, as did Jason
Altmire, the creator of this infamous Altmire Quagmire. Now Nydia’s really “miffed”
because last week she tried to “scrub” H.R.5297, the Small Business Jobs Act of
2010, but the Obama administration and Speaker Pelosi rolled her over and passed it.


If SBIR is important to you and your company, it’s time to get serious and realize
that this program can, and will go away unless you make a big noise to let your
politician’s know how you feel. All of us are sick of this, and we’re now facing a
lapse. Eight times this program has been deemed important enough to keep going (via
a CR) but will Nydia be successful in blocking this ninth attempt?

Voting will occur in the House on Wednesday and this may be the last time until
after the election that the SBIR extension bill could voted on. That means we must
act on Tuesday, September 28.

Here are some suggestions and rationale behind them.

CALL CALL CALL the House Tuesday September 21! Call Nancy Pelosi’s office at (202)
225-4965, Steny Hoyer (majority leader) at (202) 225-4131, Nydia Velazquez (202)
225-2361, also the House Small Business Committee line (202) 225-4038

Those of you who are good democrats, call the remaining House Democratic caucus
leaders: John Larson 202- 225-2265, Xavier Becerra 202-225-6235, Jim Clyburn

Those of you who are good republicans, call John Boehner (202) 225-6205, Eric Cantor

Tell them in your own words that SBIR is about to expire and is being held hostage
by Nydia Velazquez. Let them know how important continuation of SBIR is to your
business and the country. Ask them to please support S.3839 (additional temporary
extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment
Act of 1958) to keep the program from lapsing this week.

I realize that I’m asking you to do something that requires a good chunk of your
time. However, at the risk of losing you as a reader I must tell you that I donate
a large share of my time to try and keep you informed about this program, and I’m
not asking you to do anything for me, only for you and others like you. We do have
some good representatives from both parties BUT they need to hear from you and

If you’re bold ask, “I would like to know how a party can let itself get hijacked by
a few people (like Nydia) on a vitally important, highly regarded and accepted
program. This action is to the detriment of your constituents, the country, and
yes, even your own party!”

Here’s what’s going on in the back rooms (formerly smoke filled) The Senate agreed
on a 4 month extension for SBIR because they (Senate) largely (including many on the
Republican side) did not feel a reasonable bill could be passed in the lame duck
session. The Senate has offered up some huge compromises that some believe even
James Greenwood from BIO could live with. The very long shot is that with enough
pressure we might get a compromise bill passed by Thursday.


This is an interesting question. Theoretically those projects (grants and
contracts) that are already in place should be okay, but some not. All new unsigned
agreements would stop. Agency comptrollers may start adjusting their budgets to put
the overall 2.8% SBIR/STTR back into their own research pools. Administrative
funding for SBIR could be severely cut back. Remember, all of your grants and
contracts are “subject to the availability of funding.”

On the other hand, SBIR can be voluntary, so some agencies may choose to keep their
SBIR doors open, hoping for, or expecting the reinstatement of the program.

In any event, this is bad for you and the agencies.

The Insider will be on the Hill Wednesday and Thursday, so we’ll do a follow up
report to you asap.

Rick Shindell
SBIR Gateway
Zyn Systems
40 Alderwood Dr.
Sequim, WA 98382

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Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 SBIR and Business issues No Comments

How I started my company and why–Inaugural Event by San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange (SDEE)

For current graduate students, postdocs, and holders of other “in-transient” positions in bioscience-related fields today, a persistently resounding question on our minds is “What path should I follow at the end of a long and ragged journey of training?” Interestingly in our industry, like downhill skiing you see in the Winter Olympics, once you start one path it is not an easy switch to get on another.

Many of the Ph.D.s in biomed share the general view that an independent research position typically at an academic institute or non-profit organization such as San Diego’s local Salk, Scripps, or Sanford—Burnham, is the goal of the many years of training. Others soon realize that there are numerous research jobs at biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies that will make good use of their expertise, experience, and unique background knowledge in a particular field. And of course there are those who “defect” to different industries that may or may not directly relate to their extensive experience in wet labs, such as working in intellectual property laws, clinical trial management, biomedical sales, business development and management.

Research in major pharmaceutical companies (big pharma) normally focuses on a project with set goals, milestones, and layers of monitoring and management. That is how a large team can function together and get the tasks done in a timely manner. Working in smaller biotech companies can be much more flexible, researcher-initiated, and in many ways fun. On the other hand, you will be required to do much more than reading papers, designing experiments, obtaining and interpreting results. Starting a small biotech company is by no means an easy path to take, but if done correctly with some luck and a lot of determination, it can be a very rewarding career. You will get to utilize to the maximum extent of all your intelligence, knowledge, vision, and personal relations. You also have the opportunity to do real cutting-edge research in various areas, and see the fruits in journal publications, grant awards, as well as in the wild wide market.

The San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange (SDEE) was founded by local San Diego entrepreneurs in order to provide a voice for the early stage technology startup, to encourage new entrepreneurs, and to sponsor networking and educational events that help develop the skills necessary to bring funding and business to the San Diego area.

The inaugural SDEE event to be held Wednesday March 10th at 5pm. It will help answer some of the questions you may have been thinking about regarding starting or working in a startup biotech company. Allele Biotech’s founder and CEO Dr. Jiwu Wang will be among the speakers. Ten years ago Dr, Wang was a postdoc at UCSD with an NIH fellowship, right before he started Allele with a number of NIH small business innovative research grants. He will talk about the ultimate “academic freedom”–doing any research you want but completely at your own risk– as the reason to start a technology-focused company, and the lessons he learned the hard way about running a lab vs organizing a business. Other speakers include CEOs from a number of San Diego biotech companies with great stories to share with postdocs and others. The talks will be brief yet informative, and on-site interactions are encouraged. The Sanford-Burnham building 12 is outside the main campus, with plenty of free parking. Click here for more details about the event. (at AlleleNews). Let us know if you are coming by emailing to

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