April 1, 2011

At Local Small Business, Whitehouse Advocates Extending Federal Job Growth Program

Providence, RI – As the U.S. Senate continues to debate legislation to reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today visited a local small business helped by the programs and called for the continuation of these important job-creating investments.  Whitehouse toured the facilities and met with staff at EpiVax, a Providence biotech firm which has received $4.7 million in funding from the SBIR program and has grown from 5 to 22 employees in the past 5 years.

“With so many Rhode Islanders still out of work, we must make sure our small businesses have the support they need to grow and create jobs,” said Whitehouse.  “The SBIR and STTR programs have delivered nearly $100 million in federal funds to Rhode Island businesses like EpiVax, and I’ll continue fighting in the Senate to make sure these important programs remain in place.”

“The SBIR program has provided EpiVax with research and development funding that has launched several important product development programs, including vaccines for biodefense and treatments for autoimmune diseases such as Diabetes,” said Jason Del Pozzo, Business Development Associate for EpiVax.  “SBIR funding also contributed to the $13 million NIH award to URI in 2009; and to the successful submission of an SBIR Phase II award for the Diabetes program, which is also being carried forward by the NIH under a drug development contract. We fully support the reauthorization and improvement of the SBIR and STTR programs.  These programs will provide much needed research and development funding for small biotech companies in Rhode Island and beyond.”

Established under President Reagan in an effort to create jobs, the SBIR program awards research and development grants to small businesses throughout the country.  Since 1983, Rhode Island businesses have received 277 SBIR and STTR awards totaling more than $98 million.

Next week the Senate is expected to continue debating whether to reauthorize both programs, which are currently set to expire in May.


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Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921