The US House of Representatives passed a linkurl:bill; yesterday (Apr 23) that extends two programs providing federal grants to early-stage biotechs and other startups with promising ideas. The bill linkurl:reauthorizes; both the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) programs, which were due to sunset this year. The programs aim to encourage the development and commercialization of products and technologies by small businesses, and the SBIR program granted more than $2 billion to start-ups last year. The legislation includes several enhancements to the SBIR program, for which some legislators and biotech advocates had been clamoring. First, it raises the award for a Phase I grant from $100,000 to $300,000 and ups Phase II awards from $750,000 to $2.2 million, which means more funding for high-tech, high-cost biomedical research. The bill also makes it easier for small businesses backed by venture capital to apply for...

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