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Small Business Innovation and Research

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - 12:00am
Washington, D.C.
What is the Optimal Role of Venture Capital?

Opening Statement By Hon. David Wu

I want to join Chairman Ehlers in welcoming everyone to this afternoon's hearing.

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program is the largest federal program to support the development of new technologies. SBIR awards in 2003 total almost $1.7 billion - this compares to the $44.5 million in awards made in the first year of its operation.  It is doubtful that anyone would have been able to forecast the size and scope of this program back in 1982.

Last year I sponsored a roundtable in my district focusing on programs such as the SBIR and the Advanced Technology Program (ATP).  In Oregon we have a group of vibrant high-tech start-up companies.  I wanted to make them aware of opportunities for support.  I am also aware of the difficulties they have in bringing research ideas to proof-of-concept, the so-called "valley of death" and the need to create a bridge across this gap.

Today we are going to learn about one current SBIR issue, that is, the appropriate role of venture capital firms who invest in small high-tech businesses.  We have a balanced panel of witnesses who will present their views on this issue.  I would like to add that we shouldn't discount either the role of venture capital or the SBIR program in supporting the development of new technologies in the U.S.  As Congress begins to focus on this issue, today's hearing will provide us some guidance.  I also want to thank my colleague and neighbor, Rep. Brian Baird, for bringing this issue to the Committee's attention.

Before I close, I would like to say that I hope the Committee will conduct a thorough review of the SBIR program before it sunsets in 2008.  The fundamental goals of the program have not changed much since its inception in 1982.  However, few could argue that the economic and business climate have not changed considerably since then.  It is this Committee's responsibility to ensure that the program supports the high-tech small business sector while promoting US economic competitiveness.  I hope our witnesses will have some insight on this issue as well.


Panel 1

1 - Hon. Sam Graves
Representative U.S. Congress U.S. Congress
Download the Witness Testimony

Panel 2

1 - Dr. Ron Cohen
Chief Executive Officer Acorda Therapeutics Acorda Therapeutics
Download the Witness Testimony

2 - Ann Eskesen
President Innovation Development Institute Innovation Development Institute
Download the Witness Testimony

3 - Jonathan Cohen
Chief Executive Officer 20/20 Gene Systems 20/20 Gene Systems
Download the Witness Testimony

4 - Dr. Carol Nacy
Chief Executive Officer Sequella, Inc. Sequella, Inc.
Download the Witness Testimony

5 - Dr. Fred Abramson
President and CEO AlphaGenics, Inc. AlphaGenics, Inc.
Download the Witness Testimony

Link to Government Printing Office PDF file Link to text version Link to text version with speaker index
Serial 109-20
109th Congress