GE animal SBIR break

Small businesses wanting to carry out research into animal biotech may once again be eligible to apply for US Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding. During the past two budget cycles, the USDA dropped support for both university- and company-based research on cloning and genetic engineering of farm animals. Recently, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) has been helping to persuade USDA to reinstate a small part of that program, the segment supporting research at companies under the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) scheme, says Barbara P. Glenn, managing director for animal biotechnology at BIO in Washington, DC. But, this reinstatement may not apply to universities for the next budget cycle, fiscal year (FY) 2010, which Congress is currently reviewing. As most extramural USDA research takes place at universities, “The SBIR decision is a good step in the right direction, but we're continuing to make our case that an exclusion for university research doesn't make sense,” says Glenn. BIO and several coalitions are urging USDA to increase spending for research from $200 million, where it stood for several years, to at least $300 million for FY 2010.


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Fox, J. GE animal SBIR break. Nat Biotechnol 27, 585 (2009).

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