Author: Kari Morrissey, PhD on November 02, 2021
Funding for biotech, diagnostic and bioinformatic/digital health start-ups is traditionally sought from venture capitalists in exchange for partial ownership of the company. However, there are non-traditional funding sources available to start-ups that help to provide the capital needed for their early-stage activities. Examples of these alternative funding sources include the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
In a recent mini-review published in Clinical and Translational Science (CTS), Connors et al. provide an overview of the SBIR program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and examples of the program's impact on NCI SBIR awardees ability to secure follow-on funding from investors and/or partnerships. The NCI SBIR program is unique in that it provides small businesses funding, coaching on "pitching" to investors/partners, and facilitates introductions between small businesses and prospective investors/strategic partners to help with future financing needs. The funding through the NCI SBIR program is nondilutive, which means that recipients are not required to provide equity or company ownership for the capital received. These types of innovative, non-traditional funding sources combined with mentorship and networking are critical to advance translational research towards transformative clinical practice.
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