The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released their Omnibus SBIR/STTR solicitation this week. There are several agencies within HHS that have topics including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). The NIH is the only participating organization with a budget large enough to qualify for STTR awards so the NIH can give out either SBIR or STTR awards. The other organizations will only be issuing SBIR topics. The earliest submission date will be March 5th, 2013 and the solicitation will remain open until January 8th, 2014. As many of you are aware, the HHS has the second largest SBIR budget of the 11 agencies that fund SBIR topics. You can find the solicitation here.
There are still many issues (changes) related to the SBIR program from the National Defense Authorization Act of FY2012 that have not been completely resolved. The SBA just released their new size rules and are releasing more of the implementation guidelines of the law set forth by the Defense Authorization Act. One of those issues relates to the participation of Venture Capital (VC) firms in the SBIR program. The Act allow for up to 25% participation by VC firms for SBIR awards from the NIH. The recently released solicitation does not yet allow for the VC participation since the HHS solicitation was issued prior to the SBA announcing all the guidelines. HHS has publicly stated that they will revise or re-issue the Omnibus solicitation once they receive all the required guidance from the SBA and it is ready for implementation. HHS has released a document fully outlining the differences in this solicitation and how they plan to phase in the changes.
The Department of Defense also released a solicitation this week for STTR topics. Again, this solicitation was released prior to the SBA releasing their guidelines. I would encourage everyone that is interested in these solicitations to read very carefully as the guidelines will be changing. If you need help with anything, we are always here to help.