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News Release 13-168

National Science Foundation partners with Biotechnology Industry Organization to highlight early-stage small businesses

Participation in 12th Annual BIO Investor Forum intended to help connect entrepreneurs with investors

Multicolored image of stem cells

NSF-supported biotech companies use a range of tools and materials, including stem cells.

September 26, 2013

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently partnered with the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) to help 10 early-stage biotechnology companies present new drug discovery, diagnostics and related medical advancements at the 12th Annual BIO Investor Forum.

The forum is an opportunity for small biotechnology companies to connect with leading investors and cultivate potential partnerships.

As part of an ongoing effort to enable small businesses and start-ups, NSF's Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program financially supports the 10 companies. SBIR/STTR funds start-ups and entrepreneurs that undertake high-risk, high-reward research with great potential to produce commercial technology capable of positively transforming society and the marketplace.

"Innovation thrives in an entrepreneurial environment," said Jesus Soriano, a program director for NSF's SBIR/STTR program. "But early-stage innovation needs support to reduce technical and business risk. While the NSF SBIR/STTR program is an enabler of highly innovative technologies, in the case of biological diagnostics and therapeutics, the early support of R&D by the private sector is critically needed to bring these innovations to the health care system."

Representatives from more than 200 companies are expected to attend this year's forum.

"While the BIO Investor Forum is an excellent opportunity to put the spotlight on 10 companies doing important research in biotech, it is also part of a larger, potentially more long-term collaboration being developed with BIO that will help introduce small businesses developing cutting-edge technologies to investors and strategic partners," said Grace Wang, director of NSF's Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships, which includes SBIR/STTR.

A new platform to accelerate innovation

NSF-supported small businesses have participated in similar events in different parts of industry.

For example, the Eureka Park Tech Zone at the International CES, the world's largest annual consumer electronics show, showcases start-ups with pre-market technology on the verge of commercialization. Eureka Park is part of a partnership between NSF, the Consumer Electronics Association® and UpGlobal. In June, NSF worked with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) to support a pavilion that featured 10 NSF-funded companies developing innovative software and applications for classrooms.

The new collaboration with BIO will highlight pre-market technology with a biological focus or application.

"The BIO Investor Forum attracts our industry's most sophisticated and knowledgeable investors," said Jim Greenwood, BIO's president and CEO. "We are proud to work with NSF to connect our attendees with these world-class start-up companies, each of which has significant potential for commercial or societal impact. We look forward to continuing this partnership at future BIO events for the benefit of our entire industry."

Discovery and innovation

The companies showcased at the BIO Investor Forum will present a wide spectrum of technologies, ranging from brain imaging and data analysis to new platforms for biomarker discovery and drug delivery. In an era of rapidly advancing biotechnology, these companies funded by the NSF SBIR/STTR program represent some of the most advanced biomedical and healthcare technologies created by small businesses.

"Small businesses are a key driver for technological innovation and job creation in the United States," said Pramod Khargonekar, assistant director for NSF's Engineering Directorate. "The economic benefit of these innovations only underscores the importance of fundamental research in engineering and science."

Companies in this dedicated track include:

The companies will present over a two-day period, on Oct. 8 and 9, 2013. Join the conversation on Twitter: #BIF13.


Media Contacts
Sarah Bates, NSF, (703) 292-7738, email:
Daniel Seaton, Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), (202) 470-5207, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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