Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., writes the regulations governing which companies can receive Small Business Innovation Research grants need to be revised, as biotech companies are at a disadvantage. The regulations say at least 51% of a company must be owned by one or more individuals, but the Small Business Administration concluded in 2001 that venture capital firms do not qualify as individuals, thus making it increasingly challenging for venture capital-funded biotech startups to receive SBIR grants. Inslee writes the NIH, a primary supplier of SBIR grants to the biotech industry, has been more "vigorous" than other agencies in enforcing the new interpretation of the rules; prior to the new interpretation, 75% of SBIR grants went to biotech firms that now do not qualify for the same grants.

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