Mass. lobbies for biotech firm grants

March 24, 2006 at 3:28 PM
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BOSTON, March 24 (UPI) -- Massachusetts officials are lobbying for a federal law that would permit small biotech companies to compete for government research grants.

Guidelines enacted in 2003 disqualify many small biotech firms with fewer than 500 employees across New England from receiving Small Business Innovation Research grants, the Boston Globe reported Friday.

"SBIR grants have been essential for Massachusetts' leadership in biotechnology," said U.S. Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, and John F. Kerry, both Massachusetts Democrats, in requesting that the Government Accountability Office "look into the ownership issue."

Rep. Michael E. Capuano, D-Mass., has co-sponsored the pending legislation, entitled the Save America's Biotechnology Innovative Research Act, originally proposed by two GOP lawmakers from Missouri, Sen. Christopher Bond and Rep. Sam Graves.

"The future of my district is going to be built on the small business that is cutting edge," Capuano told the Globe in an interview. "These are not tool-and-dye shops trying to get started. These companies need a lot of money to help."

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